Telemedicine in India – Outlook

Article related to telemedicine

Sagar Sidana

Founder : TruOPD

What is Telemedicine (Virtual Care)

Telemedicine is the use of digital information and telecommunication technology to get the health care services remotely while practicing social distancing. You don’t need a special device but your smartphone or device with the internet to receive your medical care.

Why Telemedicine?

  • COVID-19 Epidemic has posed unique challenges to how healthcare is delivered and considering importance of social distancing, Telemedicine allows patients continuous care while protecting yourself and your healthcare providers from COVID-19.
  • Additional Benefits:
    • Convenient for people with limited mobility, time or transportation options.
    • Consult your trusted doctor via video calling on phone.
    • Communicate with your doctor via secure messages and ability to request prescription.
    • Avoid long wait time & overcrowded OPDs in Clinics and Hospitals.
    • Avoid stressful Visits to the Clinics and Hospitals.
    • Save on Travel time &Transportation expenses.
    • Provide support for self-management of health care.
  • Common Services that can be availed via Telemedicine - Virtual care can be obtained for any non-emergency or non-life-threatening services especially

    • COVID-19 Symptoms evaluation and guidance on quarantine or treatment.
    • Preventive or Wellness care.
    • For continuity of care for chronic diseases like Diabetes, Asthma, Allergies, Hypertension etc.
    • Behavioral or Mental health counseling.
    • Nutrition counseling.
    • Child Care counseling.

    Telemedicine Outlook in India

    • Telemedicine is growing in India YoY basis however it has grown significantly in recent times due to Covid-19 Epidemic and expected to grow even further in next five years. As per a study published by EY-IPA *, the Indian Telemedicine market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31% for the period 2020-25 and reach USD 5.5 billion.
    • During COVID-19 pandemic, the Govt. Of India realized the benefits of Telemedicine and the Board of Governors of Medical Council of India (MCI)published ‘Telemedicine Practice Guidelines’** for Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) to provide healthcare services using Telemedicine. They also mentioned that these guidelines should be used in conjunction with the other national clinical standards, protocols, policies and procedures.
      • Key Guidelines for RMPs
        • Digital technology should not be used to conduct surgical or invasive procedures.
        • Training Program: An online program will be developed and made available by the Board of Governors in supersession of Medical Council of India.
        • All registered medical practitioners intending to provide online consultation need to complete a mandatory online course within 3 years of its notification.
        • Thereafter, undergoing and qualifying such a course, as prescribed, will be essential prior to practice of telemedicine.
        • Tools for telemedicine can range from telephone, video, devices connected over LAN, WAN, Internet, mobile or landline phones, Chat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Mobile App, Skype/email/fax, etc.
      • Key Guidelines for Technology Platforms enabling Telemedicine
        • Ensure that the consumers are consulting with Registered medical practitioners duly registered with National Medical Councils or respective State Medical Council and comply with relevant provisions.
        • Must provide the name, qualification and registration number, contact details of every RMP listed on the platform.
        • Technology platforms based on Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning are not allowed to counsel the patients or prescribe any medicines to a patient.
        • Technology Platform must ensure that there is a proper mechanism in place to address any queries or grievances that the end-customer may have.
      • Seven Elements of Telemedicine in India
        • Context
        • Identification of RMP and Patient
        • Mode of Communication
        • Consent
        • Type of Consultation
        • Patient Evaluation
        • Patient Management