Telemedicine, telehealth and ‘Healthy India’

While we in the West and much of Asia/Pacific can parse the differences in wearables, tablets vs. smartphones and debate the accuracy of EHRs, far simpler issues dominate the application of health tech in places like India. Some are familiar–connectivity and preconceived notions of staff acceptance–and others are familiar to those of us who work in developing countries, such as interrupted power and a lack of trained people. Telemedicine and the reading of vital signs in telehealth has been part of the Indian scene for years–16 according to the article–but only in the past three years have remote consults been used more frequently. In the past year, over 100 patients have been saved by telehealth centers at two locations operated by Apollo TeleHealth in Himachal Pradesh, a province where the average patient travels up to 50 km for primary care and 250 km for secondary care. It is state-subsidized in a public-private partnership, but Apollo is already tracking over 15 months 3,000 teleconsults, providing emergency care to at least 200 people and saving Rs 15 lakh ($22,400 or £17,100).

The greatest impediment, according to the joint managing director of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited (and the author), is the resistance to change–a familiar one. Telehealth services: A prescription of technology that saves lives, saves costs (Hindustan Times)

Aarogya Bharat, or Healthy India, is a ‘roadmap’ to enable India’s growth and prosperity by improving health for India’s population. Most Indians pay out of pocket, and the system is skewed towards secondary-tertiary care. Rural India has only 20 percent of the nation’s healthcare infrastructure. Quality of services is poor. The prescriptions in this article are five-point and very broad–more spending, national health care, incentives for healthy living, more technology to increase access and affordability. That also sounds quite familiar. A healthcare prescription for India’s growth story (LiveMint) The writer is the managing director of Bain & Co. India, which may have some chips on the table.

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