Updated on 30 November 2012
Wireless technologies and cloud-based solutions are fueling telemedicine in Asia
Telemedicine is re-defining access to healthcare in many ways. It has, in particular, proved to be an effective solution in providing specialty healthcare, improving access and reducing costs of healthcare delivery. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, wireless phones, and other forms of telecommunications technology. In countries such as India, where a huge part of the population lives in far-flung geographical locations with very little or non-existent healthcare infrastructure, telemedicine can play a crucial role in improving access to quality doctors and treatment.
Mr Krishna Kumar, president, Philips Healthcare, said, "telemedicine will, in near future, enable healthcare access and I believe 200 percent in it". According to him, India has 1.6 million beds for a population of 1.2 billion. This translates to 1.3 beds per 1000 people. China is closest to India with 2.8 per 1000, the US average is 3.6, while the global average is 4.8 per 1000 and countries such as Japan are sitting at 6 bed per 1000 population.
He said, "That's why there is no alternative but to come up with telemedicine solution. We have been studying this for fair amount of time based on which I can say telemedicine is going to be important," he said. "If you are a stand-alone hospital, you can connect and network with nursing homes, to primary and secondary care hospitals, who want to offer good services, and this could be done via telemedicine. And this connected care system will emerge to provide quality healthcare."
The latest industry offerings
India-based eHealth Access has launched a virtual medical kiosk, which is an interactive health monitoring device with user-friendly applications. This kiosk has been designed using advanced telemedicine technology and high-end software programs. "The private medical kiosk connects patients to doctors over real-time, high-definition video conferences with wireless technology," said Mr Jayadeep Reddy, CEO and MD, eHealth Access. "We have a panel of highly proficient and dedicated doctors across all specialties. Using this virtual medical kiosk, one can get connected to a doctor of any specialty."
The kiosk is equipped with a touch screen and video camera among other features, which allows the user to talk to or chat with a doctor, hold a video conference, send e-mails and maintain personal health records. The video conferencing system connects the user with more than 500 specialists to ensure quick and easy 24x7 access to primary and preventive care services.