By Dr. Dinesh K. Tyagi, CEO-CSC SPV
CSC has been undertaking telemedicine in a manner that helps the citizens, especially those living in rural areas. In rural areas, healthcare in an effective manner has been a challenge largely due to non-availability of doctors and infrastructure. Compared to other developed countries, the number of doctors and para-medical staff per person in India has been very poor. Similarly, the number of beds in a hospital per person has been inadequate. These constraints will continue, especially for rural areas and does not seem to have any immediate solution. Under such circumstances technology intervention can address many of the issues and provide an effective alternative for healthcare in rural areas. With the advent of connectivity and low bandwidth video application, telemedicine through an assisted format (CSC) can provide healthcare solutions.
It is true that the assimilation of telemedicine within the community will take longer, especially among the rural populace. This requires design of suitable delivery model with appropriate delivery mechanism. CSC telemedicine, especially focusing on Homeopathy, meets the requirements. If all three lakh CSCs can do telemedicine for meeting their own requirements and do at least one transaction in a month, this will be the world’s largest telemedicine network. Once the CSC gets benefitted from telemedicine service, it will be possible for him/her to popularize the same amongst the community. Homeopathy is simple, dispensation of medicine is easy with very little side effects, which make its delivery convenient through the technology intervention. About 70,000 CSCs are presently doing telemedicine.
With a one year package of Rs. 999, which includes eight free consultations and free medicines, the telemedicine service for rural citizens is an attractive proposition. Once stabilized, the telemedicine framework through CSC can support the other service providers and meet the community needs in an effective manner.
A large number of women, infirm, and old who otherwise are unable to visit the hospital for healthcare can be supported through telemedicine. Presently, apart from homeopathy, the CSC framework supports Ayurvedic and Allopathic tele-consultations too. With the addition of diagnostics and e-market for medicines, CSCs can become full-fledged Digital Doctor Kendras. Such service will enhance the credibility of the CSC in the community and enhance the footfalls, leading to increased business opportunities.
In case the Government can support the telemedicine initiative by enabling payment for service for Below Poverty Line families for one year, the system can enhance its sustainability and support a wider and quicker acceptance. Coverage of these families for OPD type service can bring in significant improvement in healthcare parameters and address the various challenges.
The result of the CSC telemedicine initiative so far has been effective with a large number of cases of patients getting benefitted. These mainly include old, women and those who have no/ limited access to government healthcare facilities.
With telemedicine, CSC helps the community, supports Government, enhances employment and establishes itself as a credible institution in service delivery, especially for rural India. firstname.lastname@example.org