A few months ago, the Indian government passed telemedicine practice guidelines to set the guidance of remote consultation in India.
Teleconsultation also known as Electronic consultation is an online interaction interface between patients and medical experts.
Teleconsultation enables access to health services directly from home. It includes sending documents, photographs, and at times video calling the doctor for consultation. One of the major advantages of teleconsultation is that it does save time and transportation cost. Especially for patients with disabilities and people living in remote areas, electronic consultation should be the way forward.
Some telemedicine software is enabled with artificial intelligence diagnosis, electronic billing, and e-prescription. In difficult situations like the corona pandemic, it is important to adapt some extraordinary measures like teleconsultation.
It offers zero physical contact and hence chances of transmission of any kind of virus are negligible. It can act as a lifesaver at times, when doctors are unclear and they need to get an opinion from another specialist, using telemedicine software, doctors can quickly establish a secured video call to get the 2nd opinion saving the patients live and time.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), came out with a new facility to help the follow-up patients, who can now book advance appointments for teleconsultations.
The facility was arranged due to COVID-19 and as long as OPD’s remain closed.
Online consultation platforms like “Practo” shared that the volume of users on its platform is rising by an “average of over 100 percent week-on-week” since March 1, 2020. Patients were addressing queries regarding fever, cough, cold, sore throat, and body ache and primarily wanted to know whether they were suspects of corona or not. Practo also launched ‘India Health Hour’ digital initiative to provide free consultation hours to all Indians for an hour through the platform. COVID -19 definitely escalated the traffic on various e-health services applications.
The facility of teleconsultation can help -
- People living in tier 2 and tier 3 cities with poor medical facilities, who have to travel thousands of kilometers for a medical college.
- Women who face several difficulties in accessing health care in India.
- Providing sex education through the internet.
Some of the guidelines for telemedicine in India-
Telemedicine should be appropriate and sufficient as per contact -
The registered medical practitioners should exercise their professional judgment to decide whether a telemedicine consultation is appropriate in a given situation or an in-person consultation is needed in the interest of the patient.
Telemedicine consultation should not be anonymous, both practitioners and patients need to know each other’s identity.
Patient consent is necessary for any telemedicine consultation.
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