Online Consultation: The Gen X of Medical Consultation
Date: Tuesday , February 21, 2017
Headquartered in New Delhi, Konsult App is a m-health platform that enables users to find the right doctors across a broad spectrum medical specializations. Additionally, users can also book appointments and have a textual chat with the doctors, which is kept secure & confidential.
I would like to share an anecdote. This story was originally shared by Amit, my best pal since school. Amit usually drives his car every day to his office, but that day, he happened to board a cab because his car broke down. On the way, he got a call from his sister who had a sudden bout of pain in her upper abdomen when she was holidaying in Thailand. Not knowing what to do in a foreign land, she called him up in panic. Her pain was so excruciating that it was unbearable for her. Now, he is not a doctor but he has friends who are doctors. He connected them over a conference call and the issue was resolved. His sister had a rare sea fish called mahi-mahi in dinner the previous day. Histidine, an amino acid is found in mahi-mahi which when exposed to the sun\'s rays gets converted into histamine, a compound involved in causing severe inflammation. She was diagnosed with Scombroid poisoning and was suggested some medicines which she then procured from the local pharmacy over there. Meanwhile, overhearing Amit\'s conversation with his sister, the driver probed in and shared his story. He said, \"Sir, you people are lucky. You can reach a doctor whenever you want! I lost my mother on the way to Delhi from Hapur. Had we been able to contact a doctor on the way when her condition was worsening, we could have saved her\". Listening to his story, Amit felt a kind of detached pity for him but stayed mum. Later, when he narrated the whole incident to me, I interrupted and asked him as to why it didn\'t occur to him to suggest the driver to get online consultations in crisis! It can be lifesaving sometimes. I don\'t know how equipped an online consultation can be in life threatening situations, but it is certainly the best option to avail when there\'s no way out. Not everybody has a doctor friend, after all!
Online medical consultation lets you have direct real time consultations with doctors at any time of the day. To make the consultation more effective, the websites and apps have features where you can share pictures of your reports. With 4G internet connectivity, video calls are also done effortlessly. The user can get connected to a doctor within few seconds. Many websites and apps providing healthcare services and e-consultations can boast about having the best doctors from top medical establishments. Many patients flock-in to have a second opinion because treatment method and options vary. It is always a good idea to seek a second opinion for cancer treatment. Cancer can be treated through radiotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy, monoclonal antibody drugs, targeted treatment, hormones and steroids, and also through naturopathy and herbs. Your choice of treatment entirely depends on the type and stage of cancer you have. There is no \'one\' line of treatment so to say. Therefore, it is only after you have been through two or three consultations you should decide on the best method or mode of treatment.
Looking and listening to patients are two of the primary abilities that doctors leverage to diagnose the most common medical conditions, and this can be done with a smart phone. Therefore, doctors who are tech savvy readily like to open the gates which would bring a flood of opportunities for them. Time is the most valuable thing in a doctor\'s life! Patients calling up at odd hours leave them with no personal and family time. Through online consultations, doctors can make proper use of their free time and earn money. This monetization was necessary; after all there should be no free lunches. Not only Doctors can get new patients but they can also help and advice their existing patients even if they are in a geographically different location/ city/remote area. Security features are also technologically channelized through inbuilt calling mechanisms, where the doctor\'s private number is not flashed, thereby protecting their privacy.
In recent times, India has seen huge increase in online population and that is probably the reason that thousands of organizations who operate online are investing billions of dollars in the Indian market. It would not be hard to digest if we tell you India has the second biggest internet population. We are just running behind China, with a 36 percent internet penetration in comparison to China\'s 52 percent. The credit mostly goes to India\'s 1.3 billion population. If we compare the percentage of online penetration with U.S., we are still very much behind as its online population is 88 percent, which is why they have 3rd biggest internet population. But again, this also means unlike U.S. online population, India\'s online population is still far from saturation and that is why we can expect better growth in near future.
Now as we have discussed about the online penetration of India and how India is moving fast to this direction, let\'s also discuss the opportunities that lie with online consultation and why we think this is going to be the next big thing. There are three ways of looking at it -
Fast Lives: Fast lives of people living in metro cities, which are the hub of internet population, and how people can save their time by using online consultation.
Cost Effective: Cost of online consultation is much less than the accumulated cost of transport and cost of consultation, and time is money.
Security: All records are on cloud, therefore less probability of data loss.
Just look at the way how technology has affected our lives in a positive way. Organ transplants, electronic funds transfer, smart phones, digital media, and not to forget the internet; all these have come up simultaneously and all of them are mutually inclusive and interdependent. Each era is known by a major shift, be it from hunting to agriculture or from agriculture to industrial revolution, but now is the era of digitization.