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We Don’t Have Enough Doctors in Rural India. That’s Why We Need Telemedicine.

Considering the rising cost of healthcare services in the country, telemedicine which offers remote diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients via videoconferencing or Internet has the potential to address the widening gap among the urban and rural population.

In the existing healthcare system, there is a pertinent problem pertaining to doctor availability and access to healthcare – People commonly complain of having difficulty in taking time off to visit their primary care doctor. Besides this, shortage of doctors in rural areas as compared to urban areas leads to considerable travel expenditures of rural patients. For instance, WHO has prescribed a 1:1000 doctor patient ratio, but this ratio in India is about 1:2000. Rural India has one-fourth the doctors as compared to urban areas. This is a huge issue with the chronically ill, who require complex and expensive long-term monitoring and treatment strategies. Telemedicine offers best solutions to address these shortcomings in the existing healthcare system.

Although the honorable Prime Minister and the Indian government strongly support telemedicine, independent research studies show that 70 percent of OPD cases do not require any in-person visit, yet people in India may feel the need of going to OPD. Slowly and steadily people are accepting this fact and soon with increasing Internet/smartphone penetration and lower data costs, telemedicine will disrupt the status quo of Indian healthcare system.

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