The Indian healthcare system has been facing increasing pressure over the last few years. A combination of increasing lifestyle diseases, rising healthcare costs and a significant shortage of doctors and nurses has led to medical care standards being really under the spotlight. At present, there is an estimated shortage of 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses in the country – and this is to say nothing about a shortage of hospital beds across the country. The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on just how big of a problem this is for the country. With a growing population across a vast land mass, how do we ensure that Indian citizens have access to the level of medical care that they need?
For a long time now, in order to access the highest quality, most specialized medical care you would have to be located in one of the major urban areas and be able to pay ever increasing fees in order to be treated by the best. The mismatch between supply and demand as well as the geographic concentration meant that the vast majority of the population simply did not have access to the kind of care that was afforded to those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
This is changing with the evolution of telehealth services across the country whose mission is to connect patients with the very best doctors in the country no matter where they happen to be located. Online Doctor is democratizing the very best medical professionals and allowing everyone to access their services at a much-reduced fee because the physical infrastructure just isn’t required. For most of India, telehealth represents the very best way to access world class medical care – in every single aspect. It reduces the time of consultations, allowing for more people to access care. It eliminates the infrastructural challenges that hamper so many of the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities across the country. It promises to bridge the gap between the urban and rural areas – making it much more of an even playing field.
Take for example, one of our patients – a man by the name of Nafees Ahmad. He is a 70-year old gentleman who went through double bypass heart surgery and now uses a pacemaker to control his heart’s rhythms. The surgery was incredibly complicated and for the rest of his life, he now has to be completely on top of how his heart is performing – so that he can attend to his heart condition quickly and effectively if something goes wrong. Because of his location, he is the perfect candidate for telehealth because he is not as mobile as he once was, and telehealth allows him to connect with the very best cardiologists in the country from the comfort of his own home.
Like many people though, he was quite worried about the technology itself and felt a lot of anxiety regarding the software required to access this telehealth. He didn’t quite know how to use it and had never had to work with such devices before.So, our HomeDock team here at Sprint Medical were with him in person every step of the way, assisting with the necessary iOT devices on the ground and enabling him to connect with the very best doctor digitally. This thoughtful mix of in-person technical assistance and world-class virtual consultations gave him the best of both worlds and we really do believe it represents an exciting future for healthcare in this country. He is but one example of so many who could benefit greatly from telehealth services.
For him to get access to world-class medical care, there really was no other way to do it. And he is but one example of millions in this country that are in similar positions. The days are gone where you would have to trek for kilometers to overcrowded medical centres only to queue for hours in order to access high-quality care. Twenty-first century technology provides us an opportunity to bring the best possible medical care to everyone, wherever they are, at a price that is affordable. This is the way the industry is moving.
The global pandemic has showed us how we can function in remote and distributed ways and we should take those lessons forward into how we view healthcare. We really do believe that telehealth represents a future where your location, mobility, and ability to commute are not constraints in getting the medical treatment you deserve. Telehealth makes it possible for the top-notch Indian doctors to make a difference in the lives of everyone, not just the select few. It’s something we’re very excited about here at Sprint Medical and something we’re working on building every single day.