COVID 19 has undoubtedly disrupted economic activity across the globe. However, Information Technology (IT) has been a silver lining in this regard. IT is essentially a system based on storage and processing technologies that are used to communicate (synchronize) with the internet. IT development [pre-mechanical (3000 BC to 1450 AD), mechanical (1450 to 1840), electromechanical (1840 to 1940) and electronic (1940 to present)] has inked India's growth story particularly since the 1980s. The evolving scenario of the healthcare industry has drastically changed the IT requirements of hospitals. There are clear challenges within the current healthcare ecosystem that must be overcome before the healthcare revolution is realised.
With the advent of IT in Indian healthcare, disintermediation has occurred in such a way that the primary and secondary level hospitals can have direct access to the super speciality hospitals, in a collaborative way. The new organisation model not only removes the intermediate layers but also provides a conducive atmosphere for primary level hospitals, to work symbiotically with the super speciality hospitals. This will be a win-win situation for both partners.
Although telemedicine has been used spottily in Indian health care so far, the 2020 COVID 19 pandemic has demonstrated its potential in an unprecedented and powerful manner. Healthcare providers can incorporate telemedicine systems to reduce doctor patient visits and thus help in breaking the chain of transmission of infections.
The COVID 19 pandemic is establishing telemedicine within the health care delivery system of countries. In other words telehealth is contributing significantly in health care delivery during the COVID 19 crisisTelemedicine and related e-health facilities facilitate care from a distance through electronic information systems. Needles to say the COVID 19 pandemic is establishing telemedicine within the health care delivery system of countries. Indeed telehealth is contributing significantly in health care delivery during the COVID 19 crisis. Also for 'mild to moderate' symptoms of COVID 19 or any illness, telehealth services might offer a better, efficient way to receive initial care.
Telemedicine also has a significant role in screening for COVID 19 symptoms and delivering routine needs and follow-up care. The large-scale adoption of telemedicine in public health care delivery is still not visible in low and middle-income countries like India. Anticipating the increased need of telemedicine by health-care providers, the Medical Council of India released practice guidelines in March 2020. Telemedicine is bound to grow and be adopted by more health-care practitioners and patients in a wide variety of forms due to ease and availability. At the same time, it cannot replace 'in person' consultation or emergency medicine.
India being the hub of IT and IT enabled service industry, electronic health records (EHR); telemedicine; digital health knowledge resource e.g. digital medical library; hospital information management system; e-learning technologies; health sciences and public health informatics etc using information technology have become the order of the day. Moreover, Indian healthcare sector has been rapidly evolving over the last few years using IT to offer quicker, desired treatment to patients at reasonable prices.
This revolutionary healthcare (using IT systems) shall prevail in the times to come as no one knows how long the COVID 19 pandemic is expected to prolong and cause suffering for the humanity.