Amidst the inevitable suffering, the Corona crisis has also proved to be an opportunity in many sectors to build new capacities. Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a long-time has been a proponent of effective use of telemedicine. His government has taken many measures in this regard as well. However, it needed a behavioural change as well since people need to feel comfortable with the idea and the method of receiving doctor’s advice remotely. Now, trends suggest that the pandemic has given a big push to telemedicine.
Practo Trend on Telemedicine
In June, e-health service platform Practo came up with a report which covered the behaviour sample of patients since March this year. It said:
- In-person doctor visits dropped by 67% and Indians consulted their doctors twice a month using telemedicine
- 80% of all telemedicine users were first-time consumers
- 44% of the tele-consultations were from non-metro cities
- Though Corona-related queries topped the list, general physician, gynaecology and dermatology remained the top three specialities accounting for 51% of the overall consultations on Practo.
Further, the trend emerging from Common Service Centres also suggests that even the small-town and villages are adapting to telemedicine.
Telemedicine services by Common Services Centre have become immensely popular during #COVID19 lockdown.
From 23rd March 2020 till 30th June 2020, around 1.07 Lakh people have availed telemedicine consultations through CSC. pic.twitter.com/jTJDxGcING
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) July 6, 2020
The Significance of This Trend
In a country like India which is big in size both in terms of population and geographical spread, telemedicine brings certain ease. Other than the serious ailments in which doctor’s presence is unavoidable, a large part of consultation can be done remotely, easing the burden both of patient and hospital infrastructure.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising on the telemedicine front relentlessly. His government in its first term took many measures to strengthen the telemedicine network in the country. PM Modi also proposed an international platform to help others with the expertise of telemedicine that India is gaining. These headlines post-2014 hold a mirror to India’s various efforts in telemedicine sphere.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi often talks about converting a crisis into an opportunity. It seems that this pandemic has ushered a behavioural change in the sphere of telemedicine, and the government can build on it since it has already acted upon creating an ecosystem.