Due to the fear of getting coronavirus, people have stopped visiting hospitals and clinics. This has compelled doctors and people to use telemedicine for medical consultation during the lockdown. Doctors are using video calls, phone calls and internet-based platforms like websites and chats to take advice about different illnesses, treatments, and preventive measures. Telemedicine can ease medical consultation during lockdown because it eliminates the risk of transmission, is a lot cheaper than face-to-face consultation and helps to reach people urgently.
Doctors and scientists all around the world have very little information about the coronavirus. They are constantly researching and inventing new information about the virus and medicine, in such case exchange of information between the healthcare community and scientists becomes necessary. So the emergence of doctor-to-doctor consultation is also increasing.
Many organizations such as Practo, Nova IVF Fertility, Motherhood hospitals are offering teleconsultation and health services through the web in remote areas and to people who are not able to commute during the lockdown. DocMode, a Mumbai based global medical learning platform will soon launch a program known as ‘Doctor & Me’ where people can easily consult with doctors on the web and via video facilities. The most exciting feature of this program is that the doctors will only pay the transaction fee of the patients and not any upfront fees like other platforms.
Telemedicine was prevalent in India for many years now, but there were no specific organizations or regulations to look after the telemedicine sector. After the COVID-19 crisis, the government of India rolled out some laws to look after the practice of telemedicine in India. Only a registered practitioner who is enrolled in the State Medical Register or Indian Medical Register is allowed to practice telemedicine Payments are done via online gateways, UPIs, e-wallets, and bank transfers.
Telemedicine can ease medical consultation so it is a growing sector and the coronavirus pandemic gave immense fuel for it to become a major industry in the future. With a little more investment and modeling, telemedicine can be the future of Healthcare.