News Excerpt
The Central government’s 'eSanjeevani' digital platform has provided two lakh tele-consultations.

•    The top five states which have been utilising the e-health services being offered through this platform are Tamil Nadu (56,346 consultations), Uttar Pradesh (33,325), Andhra Pradesh (29,400), Himachal Pradesh (26,535) and Kerala (21,433).
•    National Teleconsultation Service of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoH&FW) is first of its kind onlineOPD service offered by a national government to its citizens.
•    National Teleconsultation Service aims to provide healthcare services to patients in their homes.
•    Safe & structured video based clinical consultations between a doctor in a hospital and a patient in the confines of his home are being enabled.

    This e-Sanjeevani platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (e-Sanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (e-Sanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations.
    The former is being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme.
    It is planned to implement tele-consultation in all the 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model, by December 2022.
    The MoH&FW launched the second tele-consultation service enabling patient-to-doctor telemedicine through ‘e-SanjeevaniOPD’.
    Offered at no cost, this e-health service is rapidly gaining popularity as citizens in around 20 States are now consulting doctors without having to go to the hospital physically.
    Around 2800 doctors have been trained and on-boarded at e-SanjeevaniOPD and every day around 250 doctors and specialists across the country provide eHealth services despite the lockdown has been relaxed in phases.  
    This service is available as an Android mobile application as well. This has made it convenient for the people to avail of the health services without having to travel. It also ensures that the patient gets to see the doctor in around five minutes after logging in.

    Telemedicine a term framed in the 1970s, which literally means “healing at a distance”.
    It signifies the use of ICT to improve patient outcomes by increasing access to care and medical information.
    According to the WHO, telemedicine is defined as ‘the delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities’.

Way forward
    Telemedicine has shown substantial growth recently both in terms of financial volume and numbers of people served. It also holds promise for even more growth in the future, driven by both epidemiological conditions and technological advancements.
    The spread of the mobile telephony into the remotest parts of the developing nations, combined with its multiple applications in health and mobile financial services will extend telemedicine to vast swathes of the globe.
    However, some challenges, primarily in dealing with the regulatory environment, will need to be overcome.