At the start of the nationwide lockdown in March, India passed the much-needed telemedicine guidelines. This meant that millions of people stuck at home could access doctors and healthcare over the phone or via video chat.
The move was huge boon for healthcare professionals as well since physical distance to the patient was rendered irrelevant.
With the change in policy, digital healthcare platforms has become the first port of call for people who are looking to reach out to healthcare professionals in order to avoid hospitals during the pandemic. But the impact of the policy is far deeper and meaningful for the 70 percent of Indians who do not reside in the top metro cities and do not have access to quality healthcare.
According to government data, 60 percent of the hospitals in the country are located in urban areas, home to just about 32 percent of India. India currently has 0.8 physicians for every 1,000 people, compared to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of one per 1,000. Teleconsultations and telemedicine, therefore has the potential to provide 'healthcare to all'.
According to a McKinsey report, telemedicine can help India save $4-5 billion every year and replace about 50 percent of in-person outpatient consultations in the country reducing the burden on overcrowded hospitals and healthcare centers.
CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan spoke to Saurabh Arora, founder and CEO of Lybrate, Ashutosh Lawania, co-founder of Mfine, Rajat Garg, co-founder and CEO at myUpchar and Sameer Sawarkar, CEO of Neurosynaptic Communications, to get more details on this issue.