Telemedicine is quickly cementing its place in mainstream healthcare in urban areas. And it is set to transform rural healthcare as well. As with any new technology, it has many challenges to face, and many advantages to offer. However, the potential advantages offered by it outweigh the initial inconveniences. First of all, let us understand what the term telemedicine means.
What is Telemedicine?
In broad terms, telemedicine refers to providing health services from a distance. Telemedicine aims to provide accessible, cost-effective, and high-quality health care services to individuals by way of the video consultation.
Telemedicine is also referred to as Telehealth, Remote patient monitoring (RPM), and Mobile health communication (mHealth).
The Adoption of telemedicine is likely to face some hindrances due to various obstacles in rural areas. The issue of poor internet connectivity, lack of internet literacy, intermittent connection failures, and less technology awareness are likely to slow the growth of telemedicine in rural areas.
However, the significant benefits offered by telemedicine subjugate the challenges faced by it. And that is why telemedicine is emerging as a new normal in health care - not just in urban areas but in rural areas as well. Telemedicine app development has created many opportunities for customers. Let us discuss the benefits of telemedicine in rural areas.
Benefits of telemedicine:
The benefits of telemedicine are far-reaching. One report from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India states that “There are a number of benefits of telemedicine. It increases timely access to appropriate interventions including faster access and access to services that may not otherwise be available. ”
Dr. Devi Shetty, a cardiac surgeon and the Chairman of Narayan Hrudayalya opines that In 99% of cases the patient does not require an operation. So the doctor does not need to touch the patient or even be there physically. Since most decisions in healthcare management are based on history and interpretation of past cases, most of the problems can be managed by telemedicine.
Access to specialists.
There has always been a huge difference between the quality of health care available in urban areas and the one available in rural areas. Especially in a country like India - where more than 75% of residents live in rural areas and more than 75% of doctors serve in urban areas, the difference could not be any starker.
Protection against infectious diseases.
As there is no physical contact between the patient and the doctor, telemedicine eliminates the possibility of transmission of infectious diseases between patients and doctors.
Overcoming poor infrastructure.
Telemedicine allows access to high-quality health care without building enormous and costly medical facilities. It allows consultation with specialists because it is not hindered by location. It also helps rural residents to save money on travel expenses.
It is the closest alternative to in-person consultation as it allows the doctor to see the visual cues.
It enables the patient to access health care without leaving the comfort of the home. And allows doctors to remotely visit the patients without being present at the clinic.
Making healthcare accessible to rural areas is cardinal, and gaining momentum rightly so. Making urban-like health infrastructure in rural areas is a welcome but very difficult - almost impossible thing. Therefore, telemedicine remains the closest thing to an in-person consultation. Obstacles like poor internet connectivity and less technology awareness may hinder and slow the adoption of telemedicine. But, the increased awareness about the benefits and convenience offered by telemedicine will make people embrace it much more easily.
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