Healthcare is virtually a click away

Medical portals

Remember that relative from your hometown who had long been nursing a stomach ache? A number of doctors he consulted could not explain the problem, ultimately he was advi­sed treatment at a speciality hospital in a city, but by the time he reached there, it was, sadly, too late.

Though our urban consciousness is still full of such memories, these may soon be a thing of the past. Finding an interesting business oppo­rtunity in the gap that exists between patients and the best healthcare available, a number of websites have come up that allow consultations with the top most doctors not just in India but acr­oss the world.

It effectively means that, even if you are a resident of Capital city Delhi, but unable to find a good doctor to advise you on say organ transplant, the finest of medics sitting in Europe or America are only a click away.

Remarkably, India is not just one of the players in the e-health sector globally, but leading the world now. One of the first such ‘virtual clinics’ to come up here, healthcaremagic.com, was recently acquired by an international software giant in the biggest such deal ever.

Its co-founder Shekhar Sahu spoke to Metrolife, “These days, alm­ost every other person has a functional internet connection and a smartphone. It is but obvious that healthcare now has to switch over from the sluggish sarkari mode to the fast-lane online mode.”

“Often, people do not have access to specialised doctors in their cities and spending lakhs just on travel becomes a problem in itself.

This is especially when you are already unwell. At such times, if an online platform suggests you the best doctors, helps you put up your reports, photographs etc. and get world-class medical guidance, it can be life-saving.”

As this sector burgeons and its significance vis-à-vis ‘real clinics’ grows, doctors are also jumping on the bandwagon.

On healthcare­magic.com, which currently lists over 15,000 doctors from hospitals as renowned as AIIMS, Gangaram, Harvard Medical School and Mayo, doctors vie with each other to ‘earn points’ to move on to ‘specialist sections.’

They first hand out free advice on ‘public health foru­ms’, which additionally helps youngsters looking for quick health tips online, and are then graduated to the ‘paid services.’

At the same time, such innovative portals are not just limiting themselves to offering consultations but have additional features such as ‘Save your health records’ and ‘Health risk assessment.’

The first one allows you to feed in records including medical prescriptions, X-Rays, MRI scans etc and share them with doctors anywhere, as and when required.

The second one assesses your health risk, based on information keyed in and even sends you SMS alerts when it’s time for a medicine, vaccinations or if your medicine is getting over.

Sachin Chaudhary, CEO, medicalsecondopinion.com, a website which offers this service, says, “Half of the time, when we visit a doctor, our past medical records are misplaced. The record saving service, therefore, becomes extremely important. Simultaneously, the assessment and alerts are very useful for
the elderly.”

Some other health portals, such as credihealth.com, pride themselves on a huge number of articles and lectures by doctors, while others like practo.com (a take on the popular restaurant-rating website zomato.com) benchmark doctors and arrange
physical appointments.

These may very well redefine healthcare as we know it in the days to come.

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