Telemedicine: All you need to know
What is Telemedicine?
It is the use of telecommunication technologies for health education, health administration and clinical care. It employs such modalities as video conferencing, remote patient monitoring and streaming media. While Telemedicine involves only clinical applications, Telehealth involved clinical application, along with healthcare provider learning and other resources.
Telemedicine and COVID 19?
COVID 19 pandemic has led to massive surge in Telemedicine and virtual patient care all around the world, with various governments releasing emergency funds to build and enhance virtual platforms to deliver virtual care.
Telemedicine and Government of India
In consultation with NITI Aayog, the Government of India in March this year launched the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines, which laid the pathway for doctors to provide telemedicine facilities to patients. https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Telemedicine.pdf
Advantages of Telemedicine over conventional modes of care?
Telemedicine allows contactless management, while promising equal level of patient care. It helps to screen and treat non-emergency patients via a virtual platform, and limits the need for physical interactions.
Enlisted are benefits of Telemedicine, over conventional care-
Quicker access to care
Limits the exposure to hospital-acquired infections
Greater access to quality healthcare
In most cases, it is cheaper
Flexible with place and time of consultation
Easy sharing of patient data
Quick prescription access by patients
Points to keep in mind
While Telemedicine promises to solve many challenges, it should be kept clear of the following hurdles-
Data sharing and Data privacy- to overcome the threat of data piracy, a safe and certified data sharing platform should be used to upload, store and share patient data.
Differentiating between Elective and Emergency care- Telemedicine should be limited only to non-emergency care, and in no means shall be used as an alternative to emergency healthcare.
Ethics and Code of Conduct- Telemedicine shall only be used as a tool of providing healthcare, and all the codes of conduct of regular medical care shall be held valid.