The Telemedicine is a HIPPA compliant healthcare solution designed with an objective to makes healthcare more cost-effective, more accessible, and increases patient engagement and by which doctors can reach patients in a remote area when providers and patients are not physically present in each other and refers to the practice of caring patients. Telemedicine now attracts people everywhere, because the convenience of telemedicine has become the big draw.
Telemedicine includes the use of electronic communications and software to get treatment without visiting a doctor’s place. This technology is mostly used for the treatment of old diseases, management of medication, virtually visits, specialist consultation and a host of other clinical services which can be provided remotely through secure video and audio connections. So telemedicine is also known as “video visits,” “online doctor visits,” and can be implemented through smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Patients who have a good Internet connection and a computer with a camera or smartphones no longer have to go into the hospitals.
Provider and patients can share information in real-time from one computer screen to another. Using telemedicine software, patients can see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment without having to wait for an appointment. Patients can consult a physician in the comfort of their homes.
Now let’s discuss where telemedicine stands in India.
Where Do We Stand?
A decade ago, many people were not aware of telemedicine, the internet and smartphones. The concept of telemedicine is still unknown to many people. Telemedicine concept is still at growing stage in India. A majority of the rural audience is not aware of telemedicine. Even people who are aware of telemedicine are still not utilizing it due to access barriers. They have no idea that providers are able to serve treatment to patients in remote areas via telemedicine. In short, we need to create telemedicine programs with the objective to increase awareness about telemedicine and its benefits.
Telemedicine has become necessary for the covid-19 pandemic, where technology helps us to fight this pandemic. Telemedicine makes work easier and has become essential for upcoming years.
Challenges of Telemedicine in India:
While telemedicine is a strong and powerful technology to help patients through video calls also in rural areas at a lower cost still there are several challenges of telemedicine in India. Some challenges are discussed below:
Low Internet Connectivity:-
Almost all telemedicine applications need a very good internet speed and reliable internet bandwidth for smooth work. Low and unreliable wideband internet barriers in the smooth work of telemedicine services.
So low internet connectivity is the main challenge of the telemedicine. For real-time teleconsultations between patients and doctors, there is a need for reliable and good Internet connectivity.
Utilization is also the main challenge of telemedicine. It means how patients are using telemedicine. Several patients who are using telemedicine applications are not sick in real. They are using telemedicine and people who really need it are or sick people are waiting there.
Lack of Access in Remote or Rural Areas:-
One more challenge of telemedicine is the lack of access in remote or rural areas. Many rural hospitals have closed and many more are in danger of shutting due to a number of bottom-line cost issues. When these rural hospitals close down, patients in those regions are faced with a gap in coverage. Telemedicine can help, but only if there is a way to connect.
Lack of Confidence:-
The patients do not believe in telemedicine outcomes fully. They surprise and it is hard to believe for them that how an online machine can give the prescription or healthcare demands without an in-person visit or without a visit to a hospital. This culture or attitude towards telemedicine technology is also the main challenge and a barrier to the adoption of telemedicine in India. So some medical practitioners do not want to opt for telemedicine practice due to the fear of medical indemnity.
Lack of Awareness:-
Lack of awareness among the patients is the largest challenge of telemedicine. If the Patients are not aware of telemedicine then this will not get used. Most people still have no idea that they have an option to talk or chat with the providers through telemedicine. Awareness is the big problem.
Telemedicine Guidelines in India:
The main goal of guidelines is to give practice advice to the providers so all the services of telemedicine can be given successfully to the patients. Some of the basic guidelines of telemedicine in India are given below:
- The provider has to maintain the same way of treatment during teleconsultation and during in-person visit both: The guidelines of telemedicine need providers to manage the same way of treatment towards the patient during teleconsultation and in person visit both.
- Prescription writing: When providers write the prescription they should mention the telemedicine or teleconsultation at the top of the prescription. Because during the ongoing pandemic some authorities set some restrictions on medicines which can be prescribed with telemedicine.
- Age verification: Providers should ask the age of the patient’s because telemedicine or teleconsultation allowed only for an identified adult family members.
- Fee structure: The fee charged should be same for telemedicine consultation and in person consultation both. If the charges are same patients will use it more than in person visit.
- Quality assurance: The provider should check connectivity instruments and complaints of patients regularly. It help providers to work smooth with patient if the quality is checked before.
- Have clear goal: The provider should have their goal clear like how they set the waiting time, appointment time, customer satisfaction etc.
- Ask for feedback: Providers should always ask for feedback from patients while introducing new things. It will help the providers to know the areas of improvement and helps in building long term relationships.
The future of Telemedicine in India
Almost everyone now has access to the internet which can become a key success factor for telemedicine. People who live in rural areas also have internet access nowadays so we can use telemedicine to successfully treat patients from distance in rural areas also. Telemedicine services help doctors to reduce their time and cost. Telemedicine has started to take care of in a very effective way. Telemedicine is a new and growing technology and will transform healthcare delivery, creating an immense opportunity for recruiters.
Due to covid-19 in the upcoming year, the medical system will move towards telemedicine. Over the next year, telemedicine will be massively used for fast follow-up appointments, emergency patient appointments and second opinion consultations for referral patients and if that will happen, that will be a very good achievement.
There is more working class population so they want to save their time because they don’t have much time to visit doctor’s clinics and wait in long queues and get immediate care for small but urgent diseases when needed. They prefer convenient healthcare and telemedicine is a solution for this.
Covid-19 proved to be a turning point in India for telemedicine. Before the pandemic people used to prefer visiting a doctor, they hesitated using telemedicine for treatment. But because of Covid-19, has increased the acceptability of telemedicine among people. Telemedicine will be beneficial for both patients and providers because through telemedicine consultation they can reduce the risk of spreading the virus and also save their time.
VCDoctor is a HIPAA-compliant Telemedicine Application that brings together patients and doctors who could carry out business transactions for their appointment and provide patients with cheaper and timelier treatment.
As a service provider and consultant, we provide end-to-end technology solutions and work hard to implement various facets of the highly complex and critical healthcare sector.