A few weeks back I got into an involved and an important conversation with a friend of mine, who had unfortunately in the month of February quit from his unexciting job and was on the lookout for a new challenge. Little did he know that he would have to sit idle for the next 5 months. The conversation was a long one and while it ended on an optimistic note, I could see my friend’s pain and frustration on our video call through the lens of my phone. With
COVID-19, a lot of things have changed and one thing which surely has is our freedom of movement and our ability to be near our friends or be alongside our peers for work. There is a little option as prevention is better than cure. And in these times, we all know how our phone and the internet has been such a big boon. They have allowed us to do much more than just stay in touch with our family, friends, and peers, and in some industries like in IT, we are far better aware and appreciative of the possibilities now.
It has been the same in the space of Health Care. Digital Care, especially Telemedicine has been a blessing in disguise and whether it is remote screening with help of a mid-level care worker or the observation and care of non-critical COVID-19 patients at their homes or just the delivery of our regular Primary care for non-COVID patients, it has helped partially address the problem of care deficits globally in these times of crisis. Where clinically appropriate, telemedicine was and is a safe, effective, and valuable modality to support patient primary care: this fact has been further reinforced by this crisis. Most countries saw huge surges in volumes of virtual appointments with developed economies estimating these volumes to be as high as 80-90% of all primary care delivered in the last 3-4 months and while things are slowly getting back to normal with both patients and primary care providers beginning to feel safer, most say that teleconsultation volumes will normalize at 25-30% which is way more than the 2-5% seen in the pre-COVID times. Not just volumes, patient feedback from these consultations were very positive. In addition to telehealth, online AI-based symptom checkers also saw heavy usage as everyone flocked to them at the earliest signs of any flu-like symptoms.
AT CRMIT Solutions, we have always believed in the potential of using digital technologies to address the growing Health Care crisis worldwide, especially so in India where large parts of our population still do not have access to sound primary care, in a timely and in a cost-effective way. We firmly believe that Telemedicine and also AI is here to stay and have been early adopters of this technology. Our HealthCARE360 platform powered by these technologies is aimed at giving Health Care providers an ability to deliver care in a set-up that is not only safe for all but also provides their patients with personalized and human experiences, very similar to those they get in an in-clinic set-up. We personally believe that the overall experience is actually better for non-critical cases. Besides this, it has helped Health Care Providers maintain business continuity in times of this pandemic, acting as a panacea for them.
Echoing local and global sentiments on the usage of telemedicine and with an objective to regulate its usage, NITI Aayog India (National Institution for Transforming India) also recently introduced revised telemedicine guidelines. According to these guidelines, the government is committed to providing equal access to quality primary care to all and sees digital health being one critical enabler for an overall transformation of our health system. CRMIT has been quick to refine its offering to align with these revised guidelines ensuring that data privacy apprehensions or a violation of laid protocols and policies do not impact the trust which vital to a patient-doctor relationship and come in the way of caregiving.