Experts from hospitals, MCI, industry, academia, radiology and health insurance have lauded the government for guidelines on telemedicine, making it legal for doctors in India.
In a video conference organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry Health Committee on May 29, 2020, they demanded a regulatory framework for telemedicine for international patients as well.
They have opined that with artificial intelligence(AI) under supervision of clinicians, telemedicine can extend health support to the rural patients and we could see 20-25% of healthcare being provided through telemedicine.
Dr. N. Subramanian, Chairman, Health Committee-PHDCCI, and Director, Medical Services, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, said the risks of non-communicable diseases are so high that awareness and prevention is the only way to avoid complications where telemedicine and AI can play a major role to make the data available and stratifying the risks.
“It can also manage the algorithms in treating patients with high risk demographics where the government has access to real time data and the changing patterns of the disease,” he added.
Dr Harsh Mahajan, Founder & Managing Director, Mahajan Imaging, pointed out that computing and internet availability improves exponentially the effectiveness of telemedicine as it also drastically reduces the cost of healthcare delivery.
He further said that with the advent of corona, telemedicine and AI make work easier and it will become indispensable in coming years. But it has to be under supervision of a clinician.
Mr. Aditya Berlia, Co-Founder and Pro Chancellor, Apeejay Satya University, said that Covid-19 has changed the patient and doctor psychology at large and 20-25% medical system will move to telemedicine in coming years.
He also said that Covid 19 has given a massive boost to telemedicine and there is an urgent intervention needed from the regulatory part as there is a problem with the data collection part,” added Mr Berlia.
Dr. Hans Raj Baweja, Chairman, Ethics Committee, Medical Council of India, said that there were lot of legal limitations MCI faced before Covid era as telemedicine is existing and practiced in other countries but never recognised in India.
“It’s only due to this Corona pandemic that on March 25, 2020 the telemedicine guidelines were finalised which says that every doctor in India can go on telemedicine platform in India,” added Dr Baweja.
“Explaining the key points of telemedicine guidelines, like mandatory patient consent, mandatory patient identity as it is difficult to identify the patient in audio consultations, taking of history and entering all the details in the prescription. It is mandatory for doctors also to introduce themselves at the time of consultation and only generic medicines should be prescribed,” he explained.
Mr. S.K. Mehra, MD and CEO Health Insurance TPA of India said this is the right time to start and set some protocols and regulations, which will also help in the expansion of telemedicine. This concept of telemedicine will certainly help the senior citizens, where they require general consultation or normal follow up for the medicine," he added.