E-clinics: all-in-one care aided by tech

Health is wealth — this proverb has been a major stronghold in thorough development of civilisation and society. Today, healthcare has become the epicentre of growth models of economies across the world. As per Statista, the global expenditure on medicine crossed $1.14 trillion in 2017.

Continuous innovations and inventions in the field of medicine have facilitated the progress and the last decade has seen the emergence of e-clinics and e-health. The development of e-clinics is encompassing the entire healthcare process with the help of continually developing technologies.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has become the backbone of the health-tech evolution today. ICT equipped Mobile Healthcare Delivery is the latest stage of healthcare evolution across the world.

Everyday operations of medical practice and doctor consultation have reached the farthest corners through e-clinics. People from distant rural areas to tier-II and tier-III cities have gained access to specialist doctors in metro cities. With an increase in internet access and greater network coverage, telecommunication between doctors and patients through e-clinics have not just facilitated quality healthcare but have also led to cost reduction in expenses. The concept of telemedicine through e-clinics is making lives healthier across the country.

Apart from the ambitious government project of Ayushman Bharat, a lot of private players have also entered the healthcare industry, availing teleconsultations for patients in the comfort of their houses.

Whether it is regular medical checkup for identification of communicable diseases (CDs) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in primary stage or post surgery follow-ups for a complete cure, e-clinics have become one of the most beneficial medical innovations in the last decade. Both CDs and NCDs can be monitored and treated from e-clinics through advanced medical diagnosis equipment. In a scenario, where people are devoid of quality healthcare infrastructure, e-clinics are taking telemedicine, teleconsultation, e-prescribing, mHealth, and healthcare informatics under purview to deliver quality medical facilities to patients living in remote areas.

Today, regular health checkups at e-clinics can help in early diagnosis and timely treatment of various ailments. In fact, patients undergoing surgical treatments are also relying on e-clinics for post-operative care and saving themselves the burden of travel.

E-clinics and mobile health units have become the most efficient tools in recording health vitals on Electronic health records (EHR) for precision medicine. The medical history of patients recorded on EHRs will help doctors in analysing the diseases and prescribing treatment with greater accuracy.

E-clinics have also been strengthened with various technological tools, such as clinical decision support, patient engagement tools, computerised provider order entry, laboratory and medical imaging information systems, health information exchanges, and advanced medical diagnosis devices.

Direct interaction between doctor and patient through e-clinics not just ensures privacy but also avoids risks of infections. The expert advice from best doctors or multi-specialty hospitals in metros can reach patients in remote areas through telemedicine facility at e-clinics. This can be a real lifesaver for people looking for quality healthcare services.

The processes have been proven successful in helping patients in a safe and secure environment. Efficient treatment and patient satisfaction have notably increased in the past few years with an increase in e-clinic services across the world. Another advantage of e-clinics is the safety of patients and doctors from communicable infections, which are common at community health centres and large hospitals because of large crowds.

Future of e-clinics

While e-clinics have started a transformation in healthcare industry, continually churning wheels of tech innovations leave a scope for more healthcare advancements. The new concepts of cybermedicine and innovations of self-monitoring healthcare devices and wearable healthcare devices will bring a new dawn in the healthcare domain. Economies are also working on a public-private partnership to increase health education and patient education for self-diagnosis.

The evolution of health IT tools and other medical breakthroughs will further facilitate quality treatment through e-clinics. E-clinics are surely going to be at the forefront of future healthcare, helping humanity lead quality lives.

(The writer is Chairman and Managing Director, VBRI (Vinoba Bhave Research Group))

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E-clinics: all-in-one care aided by tech

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