1:6,300 – that was the Indian doctor-population ratio in 1953. This means that for every one doctor in India there were 6,300 patients. Quite a far cry from the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended figures of doctor-population ratio of 1:1,000. However, since 1953, the Indian population has grown exponentially and the number of doctors has also gone up. In 2018, the doctor-population ratio in India stands at a healthy 1:921.
Despite such a great doctor-population ratio in our country, many people from rural areas have to travel to big cities to get in touch with good physicians and access quality medical service for treatment. As a matter of fact, most of the finest doctors of our country still practice in only Indian metropolises and do not serve in the rural belts of India.
However, with the inception of telemedicine, the finest physicians will now be able to treat patients living in the smaller towns and the remotest parts of India, effectively.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is an emerging field of modern health that combines electronic information technology seamlessly with medical science to provide healthcare services to people, over great physical distance. The technology of telemedicine aims to deliver the finest healthcare services using communication and information technology to exchange pertinent information related to the patient’s diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of a disease or an injury.
Therefore, patients, who will be visiting a telemedicine clinic will have a face-to-face conversation with the doctors with the help of a laptop despite the geographical distance. A telemedicine clinic is always manned by either a nurse or a doctor. The main advantage of telemedicine is that it can bring the patients in touch with doctors, who are best in their fields. For example, a person residing in a small Uttar Pradesh town, that lacks quality cardiology services can consult an expert cardiologist in Delhi with the help of telemedicine. Furthermore, telemedicine also eliminates the complexities associated with a surgical procedure such as knee replacement.
For example, a telemedicine clinic puts the patient in touch of a reputed orthopedist in Mumbai directly. The patient is not required to travel all the way to Mumbai to search for a qualified doctor for treatment and needs to go to the city only once for the surgery after all the arrangements have been made. Moreover, he/she will also not need to make routine trips to Mumbai for post-surgery follow-ups and visits as those can be conducted through a telemedicine clinic only.
Why Does India Need Telemedicine for Treatment and Counseling?
India has a ton of expertise in medical sciences. However, not all people have access to this owing to our country’s large area as well as population. So, it can be concluded that today there are many hundreds and thousands of Indians, living in the remotest corners of the country, who do not have access to quality healthcare and counseling services at times of need. With the help of Telemedicine, the finest physicians and counselors of India will be able to care and treat patients living kilometers away in an efficient and effective manner.
Although India lags behind in terms of physical infrastructure, the government is taking measures to introduce the concept of telemedicine in the country. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) along with the government of India has successfully established the National Telemedicine Portal. Apart from this initiative, a countrywide healthcare network is being established through the National Medical College Network (NMCM) and the National Rural Telemedicine Network to provide e-Education and e-Healthcare.
With careful planning and investment, Telemedicine will be a giant leap for India in terms of healthcare and counseling services and will help people receive quality healthcare, despite the geographical distances.
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