Telemedicine is making a shift in India’s healthcare ecosystem to future-ready and the accelerated adoption of telemedicine across the world and in India has helped to mitigate the full impact of the pandemic. Equally importantly, telemedicine also provides healthcare consumers with the option to seek and not delay care, stated Sigal Atzmon, founder & CEO, Medix Global.
Atzmon added that the success of digital health and telemedicine services represents a re-evolution in the healthcare landscape and is likely to ensure that they will be the norm even in a post-Covid world.
Powered by both technologies and devices, telemedicine and digital health solutions enable remote interaction and access to information about a patients’ health status and helps in deciding if there is a need to intervene.
Atzmon stated that while telemedicine has been around for many years, the pandemic has spiked the demand and it has also made remote and digitally enhanced care mainstream, as it allows the patients to receive consultations from the comfort and safety of their homes. It also cuts down the cost for their in-person visits. However, the service also comes with a valid set of concerns.
While telemedicine is convenient, it can also result in security and privacy issues related to patient data. In order to build trust and build the confidence of healthcare consumers, service providers must ensure that the required safeguards are in place, information gathered by them is encrypted and any channels used for communication with the patients are via secure connections. Consent of the patients must also be taken prior to recording and storing any consultations.
Atzmon added, “If patients are not aware of the available telemedicine and digital health services, then the services will not get used. Many established healthcare providers and startups are now providing telemedicine services and we are even seeing doctors who are “prescribing” the use of digital health apps. However, it is a missed opportunity if these not promoted via various platforms to raise awareness. If patients do not understand how to use telemedicine services, it can affect the utilization and accessibility. While most urban and younger patients in India are comfortable with using their smartphones, the use of smartphones with the older generation and in rural areas is still somewhat limited. It would be beneficial for service providers to consider hybrid models and ensure that the applications are simple with a seamless and engaging customer experience.”
“At a time when India is already in need of more skilled healthcare staff and even better infrastructure, digital health services and telemedicine are helping transform the entire medical landscape into a more asset-light system and cost-efficient. Telemedicine still has a long way to go in potentially disburdening hospital-generated medical waste and paving the way for more environmentally friendly, accessible and sustainable practices,” stated Atzmon.