Leveraging Telemedicine for better healthcare solutions

Date:   Tuesday , February 21, 2017

Headquartered in Kaula Lampur, Columbia Asia is one of the world\'s leading private healthcare chains with an extensive network of hospitals across Africa, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. The company believes in setting-up hospitals in residential areas for accessibility and efficiency.

The application of telemedicine cannot be explained unilaterally. Since its inception, this field of medical practice has evolved drastically. With the inclusion of continuous technological advancements in healthcare, there is a wide scope of area in which hospitals, private physicians and medical practitioners access telemedicine to provide value to the patients.

In a competitive medical landscape, telemedicine is becoming a way to give medical practice an edge where it is difficult for any healthcare service provider to remain independent. To ease the business model, entrepreneurs from around the world are collaborating with medical experts in different geographical terrain to not only set up medical equipment but also provide required medical assistance to their staff.

The concept of telemedicine can be put to practice in multiple ways to bring value to the patients and the doctors. Also, telemedicine services can range widely by specialty.

Varied Applications of Telemedicine

  • Outsourcing Medical Specialities & Leveraging Expertise: Many hospitals and larger healthcare centres are outsourcing their extra clinical staff and specialities. The aspect that telemedicine can be used to leverage expertise, has changed the healthcare landscape like never before.

  • Optimization Solution: Telemedicine is not only used for patient outreach but also as an optimisation solution. It can be used as a consolidation and collaboration platform to cross leverage expertise. For instance, the excess capacity at any of the newly set-up Columbia Asia hospital is cross utilized to provide services to other Columbia Asia and non-Columbia Asia entities.

  • Remote Patient Monitoring: Acute shortage of specialists across the country makes delivery of specialist care challenging. Right use of their time and expertise can be a daunting task. Here, telemedicine plays the role of an enabler; it allows better care of patients in areas where medical expertise is hardly available. Tele-medicine helps a specialist to operate out of one centre to provide expertise to remote units where proper facilities and infrastructure is unavailable.

  • Medical Tourism: A prior screening through tele-medicine can help in proper deduction of the illness. This further helps the patient to decide whether she/he needs to travel to avail proper medical services. Hence, it not only helps in better treatment of the patient but can also save the patient\'s time and money. Tele-consult also helps in establishing a level of comfort and confidence between the patient and the treating doctor (who might be sitting miles apart).

  • Tool for Convenient Medical Care: Today, patients want to waste less time in the waiting room and want immediate care for minor but urgent conditions. With more and more medical centres providing 24/7 access to medical care with on-call doctor facility, telemedicine has become more of a convenient medical care. Telemedicine also provides platform for physicians to use and offer virtual visits with the patients. It also allows doctors to consult each other electronically to make split-decisions on varied healthcare matters.

  • Indian Healthcare Scenario

    Healthcare in India is characterised by scarce resources as compared to the massive needs. In order to resolve issues relating to healthcare, it is important to make quality medical services easily available and affordable. Since the Indian healthcare market is dominated by private players, problems like financial viability and scalability always arise.

    Also, India lacks proper infrastructure for the healthcare needs that the country demands. Increasing use of digitization in healthcare can help solve these problems and make it easily scalable. In order to chart India as a developed country we need to ensure proper health-care system to a large segment of population, and telemedicine plays a major role in this.