|  |  | 

India Top Headlines

Telemedicine Growth Reducing Dependence on Quacks | India News


No meters, included towns, posted a 750% growth in telemedicine this year, a report finds.
WHO estimates that up to 57.3% of healthcare providers in India, who claim to be doctors, do not have a medical qualification. They are informal health care providers or charlatans. And they are present both in rural and urban environments but more in the villages. According to a WHO report, while 60% of India’s population lives in rural areas, only 40% of healthcare providers work there, giving people the only option to turn to charlatans. .
However, with the rise of telemedicine in India (online consultations with doctors increased 300% in 2020), people in rural areas can now access a qualified doctor. A report compiled by the healthcare app Practo and the non-profit Indian Telemedicine Society, on the growth of telemedicine in India in 2020, found that non-metropolitan areas, including villages, recorded a growth of 750 % in telemedicine.
Dr. Mukund Tawari, a practicing dentist in Mumbai, said that this year he received many more patients from remote towns and villages. “With video consultations it has become easier for them to consult us. I recruited patients from villages in Rajasthan and Maharashtra in online consultations. Most of them were for problems like toothache and first aid for broken teeth, ”Dr. Tawari said. The ratio of the dentist population in India is 1: 10,000, but in rural areas one dentist cares for 2.5 lakhs of people, creating fertile ground for breeding dental quackery.
“The prevalence of unskilled physicians, especially in rural settings, is very high and a digital healthcare policy has the potential to eradicate quackery and provide awareness and accessibility to qualified medical specialists for rural Indians,” the report noted.
While telemedicine started in India 20 years ago, Tier 2 cities such as Manjeri, Arrah, Balasore, Etah, Orai, Khopoli, Jagtial, and Shivpuri used telemedicine for the first time in 2020.
The report also found that the elderly showed greater acceptance of technology in the form of telemedicine. There was a 502% increase in online inquiries from people over 50 this year.
Although 2020 proved to be a revolutionary year, the history of telemedicine dates back to 1905 when a Dutch physician, Willem Einthoven, performed long-distance ECGs over telephone cables. From the 1920s to the 1940s, doctors in Norway, Italy, and France conducted radio consultations for patients aboard ships at sea and on remote islands.
In India, telemedicine was initiated by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) in 2001. It linked the Apollo Hospital in Chennai with the Apollo Rural Hospital in Aragonda village in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Over the years, ISRO’s telemedicine network has expanded to connect 45 rural and remote hospitals and 15 super specialty hospitals.
Due to confinement and social distancing, and fear of contracting Covid-19, in-person medical appointments decreased by 32% in 2020. However, visits to specialists such as neurosurgeons and cardiologists, due to conditions in which telemedicine could not function, they grew four times. more compared to last year.
People with mental health problems also benefited from telemedicine. There was a 302% increase in general consultations related to mental health. Non-metropolitan cities recorded a 375% growth in online mental health consultations. Psychiatry emerged as one of the main specialties consulted during the night hours.

Times of India