Chennai

‘Telemedicine must be used to combat doctor shortage’

To promote telemedicine as one of the solutions to bridge the massive gap between the number of doctors needed and the number available, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has declared March 24 as ‘IMA Telemedicine Day’.

“Two-thirds of the country’s population lives in rural areas, but less than 1/3 of our healthcare service is there. We have a huge shortage of doctors, nurses and technicians. In this scenario, telemedicine services can help bridge the healthcare delivery problems we face,” said Marthanda Pillai, IMA national president.

He said only 650 telemedicine units function in the country, and much awareness is needed about its potential among the medical community and the general public.

Dr. Pillai was speaking at the 15{+t}{+h}anniversary of the Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation on Tuesday. The Foundation launched its first centre in Aragonda, Andhra Pradesh, with support from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“While the U.S. has one doctor for every 400 patients, we have one doctor for every 1,722,” said B.S. Ratta, president, Telemedicine Society of India, highlighting the shortage and the urgent need for technology to step in.

Today, Apollo’s telemedicine services do between 90 and 110 tele-consults a day, many of these to people in the Northeast and in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, said K. Ganapathy, founder president of the Foundation.

Sangita Reddy, joint managing director, Apollo Hospitals, said, “Soon, with an app that we will launch, we will be able to help patients monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, diabetes and weight,” she said, adding the goal of telemedicine should be to treat patients in their localities, not bring them to city hospitals.

With non-communicable diseases killing 36 million people every year, digital health will provide the way forward, said Prathap C. Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals.

While the U.S. has one doctor for every 400 patients, our country has one doctor for every 1,722


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Printable version | Jul 6, 2022 10:45:50 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/telemedicine-must-be-used-to-combat-doctor-shortage/article7029878.ece