Ms. Saranya Gupta
Mentor: Manvee Bansal / Abhimanyu Rathore
Pathways World School, Aravali (IB)

 


Telemedicine has recently emerged and gained popularity as a new hope to remove the bottlenecks in the healthcare seeking. While telehealth technology and its use are not new, widespread adoption among patients, especially in rural areas, beyond simple telephone correspondence has been relatively slow. Many professional medical societies endorse telehealth services and provide guidance for medical practice in this evolving landscape.

One such example are the incessant advocacy efforts of the Telemedicine Society of India (TSI) that have paid off with the approval of Telemedicine Practice Guidelines by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in March 2020. TSI, now with an enhanced vitality is determined to reduce Urban-rural healthcare disparity.

My detailed research has looked at the problem that exists in rural India and why people residing there are hesitant to adapt to telehealth as a prime medium to acquire healthcare services. Thereafter, it goes into further detail of how this can be destigmatised through solutions like overcoming the language barrier, hiring ambassadors for spreading awareness, and regularly updating the content on the company website.

Lastly, it also includes a state-wise analysis of the 11 states that TSI principally targets, which discusses the problem that a certain state faces and a recommended solution for that problem. For example, people in Maharashtra have concerns about the privacy guidelines around the uptake of telemedicine and to resolve this problem, a recommendation was to revise the guidelines to address the weaknesses and to establish an ongoing system of evaluation to permit future improvements in the guidelines to make them increasingly comprehensive.

The recommendations for adaptation of telehealth in rural areas include –

1. proper training of doctors and other healthcare professionals to deliver the telemedicine technology effectively, including vastly improved Internet services;

2. A much higher level of public-private partnerships related to telemedicine activities;

3. Developing more cohesive privacy policies and guidelines for TSI to ensure that patients feel secure and integrate telemedicine with the existing health system;

4. An efficient management structure for monitoring quality standards of telemedicine practice in the country;

5. Efforts should be made to educate public about telemedicine and its related benefits.

This kind of research was necessary because of the growing relevance of telehealth services in today’s rapidly revolutionising, technology-dependent world. It is also prominent in the situation of the pandemic in which we are living in today, given the requirement to stay at home and reduce physical contact. In terms of focusing on rural areas of India as a prime target audience for this research, there was a crying need for habitants of these areas to accept newer approaches as the world progresses.

To obtain a full copy of my research, please write a mail to my mentors – aks1953@hotmail.com