Why In News?
Recently, the Union Health Minister released the Framework on use of telemedicine for cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and stroke.
What is a Telemedicine?
Telemedicine includes the use of communication networks and digital solutions in providing health services. It allows collaboration between providers and patients across spatial boundaries, for activities linked to health promotion, prevention, diagnosis, timely referral, management and follow-up of patients
What is Telehealth?
The delivery and facilitation of health and health-related services, including medical care, provider and patient education, health information services, and self-care via telecommunications and digital communication technologies
Evolution of telemedicine in India
E-health solutions, which include telemedicine, are recognized as cost-effective tools to increase access to health care and to improve patient outcomes. Telemedicine in India was started with the support of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2001. Multiple telemedicine projects have been initiated in different states of the country in collaboration with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)
Telemedicine guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
MoHFW, Government of India released the ‘Telemedicine Practice Guidelines’ in March 2020 to give practical inputs to the doctors in realizing the full potential of the telemedicine for better healthcare delivery in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines are focussed on the Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP) defined as a person who is enrolled in the State Medical Register or the Indian Medical Register under the Indian Medical Council (IMC) Act 195
Rationale of use of telemedicine
Patients suffering from NCDs need long term care and support. Shortage of health workers and inadequate access to hospitals and medicines are essential barriers for optimizing care.
Leveraging technologies for NCD care can have a positive impact on NCD control strategies.
Telemedicine has a role in the whole spectrum of NCD care.
It has a role in promoting healthy behaviours, prevention of risk factors, early detection of diseases, timely initiation of treatment, monitoring and follow-up support, rehabilitation and palliation.
Telemedicine can increase access to healthcare and help in maintaining the continuum of care