According to an economic survey carried out in 2019-2020, the doctor-patient ratio in India stands at 1: 1456, whereas the WHO-recommended ratio is 1:1000. Such a limited availability of healthcare professionals points towards an immediate need to make healthcare administration more accessible than ever with telehealth.
Moreover, many parts of rural India do not have access to a proper health care center, and residents are compelled to travel a distance of more than 100+ km to avail essential medical care. One of the ways this shortage in medical personnel can be addressed is through proper implementation of telehealth models of medical care.
It can be defined as the use of information communication technology to provide quality healthcare to patients and blur the boundaries of geography for effective aid. Telehealth is an umbrella term that includes all clinical and non-clinical aspects of health care implemented and administered remotely. It includes the following –
- Quality healthcare to Individuals living in remote areas.
- Convenient and accessible medical assistance to senior citizens or individuals with limited mobility.
- An expert second opinion via electronic health records for treatment efficacy in the case of individuals residing in rural or remote areas.
- Remote tracking of a patient’s health status through wearable gadgets and other devices such as ECG monitor, blood pressure monitoring machine, and so on.
- Training of medical personnel by providing access to online resources.
- Improvement of overall public health.
Telehealth can also be a boon for society through the following ways –
Quality medical care at reduced costs –
Remote monitoring and analysis as well as electronic storage facility bring down the cost of healthcare services significantly, thus helping healthcare providers, patients, as well as insurance companies save more. Telemedicine also helps bring down non-urgent and unnecessary visits to the ER, thus eliminating the transportation expenses involved when going for regular check-ups.
Alongside such benefits of saving on cost, the digital health and medical care model helps increase revenue by billing the on-call hours spent on consultations, increasing patient footfall, and even limiting overhead costs as physicians can decide to switch to a flexible work-from-home model for a part of the week.
Telehealth Quick diagnosis –
Earlier, patients were either required to make an appointment with their doctor or visit him/her during designated clinic hours to avail medical care. It was followed by waiting outside the doctor’s chamber for a considerable period. Thus, the process of availing medical consultation in the traditional system was time-consuming.
Nevertheless, with the availability of advanced technology implemented in digital health and medical care like video calls and mobile applications, getting in touch with medical practitioners via the internet enhances consultation convenience.
They can also click pictures of their visible symptoms and send it to their medical care provider along with test reports for further assistance. The doctor then goes through this information, lists diagnosis requirements, and sends it to the patient the same way, thereby reducing valuable time.
Improved patient engagement –
It was also observed that patients who took a more pro-active role in their healthcare experienced a better quality of life compared to those who did not.
Digital healthcare tools allow patients to stay connected with their care provider, increase the accessibility of their medical records online through the hospital or clinic’s web portal, and make appointments whenever necessary, which facilitates improved patient engagement.
Makes medical care more accessible –
The time of travel and distance between patients and doctors can decrease the accessibility of various healthcare services. Thankfully, telemedicine can help reduce such barriers to healthcare accessibility, especially for specialized providers.
However, telehealth services are is still not widely available in India because of poor public health infrastructure. As such, for the time being, they are only offered by diagnostic centers or clinics in the private sector, which can be quite costly. However, with the aid of financial instruments like the EMI Network Card, one can easily opt for telehealth facilities. Some of the features of this card include –
Affordable EMI option –
The health card helps one avail the required funds immediately in times of medical urgencies. Nevertheless, a high-value medical bill payment made at a go can strain the finances significantly. Thus, one can easily convert the financing availed via a health card into affordable EMIs and pay it off conveniently. They can a suitable repayment period between 3 and 24 months as per their suitability.
Financing for the entire family –
Health cards can be utilized to fund the medical expenses of all family members along with the cardholder, including his/her spouse, parents, children, and siblings. The pre-approved amount of up to Rs.4 lakh can be used to pay for medical treatment of all members.
Affordable fee –
Applicants only need to pay a nominal amount of Rs.707 to avail an insta health card. Its non-insta variant only comes at a lesser fee of Rs.589. Since the fee amount is negligible, individuals across income groups can affordably apply for a health card and avail it to pay for their medical expenses.
The health card can also be used to avail medical treatment through telehealth or in person, from premium healthcare facilities throughout India. It can be used at over 5,500 plus partner facilities which include multi-specialty hospitals, diagnostic centers, etc. located around 1,000 plus cities across India. With an option to fund over 800 essential and non-essential medical consultations and treatments, the card’s utility only expands further.