Healthcare delivery in India is set for a paradigm shift in couple of years from now. There is a distinct unfulfilled need to create new delivery models for providing affordable and prompt healthcare services to an ever-increasing Indian population. The primary focus is empowering patients so that they can make informed choices and be the drivers of change. Patients seek greater empowerment in managing their own healthcare, they want to be able to easily and conveniently use that information to access the appropriate level of care needed for their medical needs. Typically, users look up health information and then make a decision to seek care. They then research care providers through different channels, and then they call a provider to make an appointment, or in the case of an emergent need, drive to the Emergency.The healthcare challenges, combined with existing financial pressures within the healthcare sector demonstrate that traditional delivery methods of health services alone will not suffice. Instead, an integrated approach towards disease prevention, enabling of independence in care and well-being of patients and encouragement of self-care and self-management by patients is required.
“Long distance doctors will replace long wait times”
Progress in Telemedicine technology and associated process improvements have the potential to improve the efficiency of health care delivery – enabling improved access to specialty care, a continuing challenge in remote rural communities.Instead of having a patient travel to see a specialist or vice versa, the specialist sees the patient using telecommunications technology. This has considerable potential to reduce travel associated with serving remote rural populations and to extend the reach of a specialist to previously underserved populations.Lack of initiatives in mobilization or strengthening human resources, along with workforce shortages, are other major challenges that would be faced by India towards building a sustainable and widespread health system. There is 1.0 doctor available for every 2000 patients. Approximately 0.91 beds per 1000 population is available in India when compared to global standards with 4 beds per 1000.
The acute shortages of healthcare providers are primary felt in psychiatric, chronic and sexual diseases. Ophthalmologist-patient ratio is at a dismal 1:10,000, Psychiatrist:patient ratio is at the lowest 1:10000. I believe to provide Telemedicine along with mhealth is the way forward for India and all the developing countries. It makes sense to start sooner to get the early mover advantage, because as they say you can replicate technology but you cannot replicate the audience. The time is right NOW !!!.