Telehealth has been at the forefront of the rapidly evolving healthcare delivery models in India, especially now during the pandemic. While the benefits of telehealth are quite evident, there are some questions that need to be addressed for it to be widely accepted and adopted. Some of these are: How do we ensure quality in telehealth? Who plays a bigger role in the adoption of telehealth – providers or the patient? How to address the concerns related to trust-building with the doctor online and the accuracy of clinical information received from the patient? Medical expenses of teleconsultation and homecare are not covered under traditional insurance models, what can be done about it?
AMPH Co 2022 students J P Pattanaik and Smitha Chowdary Kankanala invited experts and industry leaders to share their opinions and insights on these critical questions in the first AMPH Discussion Circle hosted by the Max Institute of Healthcare Management.
Key insights from the discussion
- Telehealth makes healthcare Accessible, Affordable and Available with better quality.
- The ultimate brand ambassador for telehealth is the individual beneficiary who experiences a “wow” effect in interacting with a remote healthcare provider (HCP). To achieve ‘customer delight’, the HCP should get into the mind of the patient and cater to his/her specific needs albeit using technology.
- There is a good potential for telemedicine for follow-ups, especially in cancer care and NCD management which are lifelong diseases. Most follow-up visits are just discussions and reviews of pre-determined tests.
- The use of healthcare standards for the exchange of health information is still not getting its due recognition. Adoption of standards in telehealth is a must as a confidence-boosting measure.
- The pandemic has helped in realising the potential of telehealth. However, sustaining its success for the long run will be more challenging than ever.
- Virtual Reality and immersive technologies are going to play an important role in care delivery and improving the provider-patient experience.
- IoT and remote devices can help in gathering accurate clinical information at lesser costs.
- For patient satisfaction of a doctor’s presence, a video teleconsultation is preferable over audio. In remote/rural places, the government should implement video consultation kiosks at PHCs with a staff trained in digital literacy.
- New insurance models are evolving to support expenses incurred for telehealth services.
- With better infrastructure (broadband, power supply, etc.), telehealth is bound to flourish further and will reach every nook and corner of the country.
Moderated by the students of AMPH Co 2022, the Max Institute of Healthcare Management hosts the AMPH Discussion Circle on the third Sunday of every month on its LinkedIn page. Click here to go to this discussion thread.