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India’s telemedicine platform crosses 1 million teleconsultations

The government’s telemedicine service, eSanjeevani, recently recorded over one million teleconsultations on its platforms. Telemedicine entails the delivery of health services using the Internet. It extends beyond the distribution of health services, improving delivery quality and saving time and costs.

According to a press statement, the roll-out of eSanjeevani in India is the first of its kind, marking the digital transformation of health service delivery solutions at a national level. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform boosted the country’s digital health ecosystem.

Doctor-to-doctor

eSanjeevani, an initiative of the Health Ministry, serves two streams in 28 states and union territories. eSanjeevaniAB-HWC enables doctor-to-doctor teleconsultations and is used in around 6,000 Health and Wellness Centres across India. Over 20,000 paramedics, doctors, and specialists have been trained to use the eSanjeevaniAB-HWC.

Doctor-to-patient

The second stream, eSanjeevaniOPD, provides remote health services to patients in their homes. It enables contactless, risk-free, and safe consultations between a doctor and a patient. Around 8,000 doctors have been trained to use the eSanjeevaniOPD, and on average, around 1,500 doctors practice telemedicine daily through about 225 online OPDs. Out of these, 190 are speciality OPDs and around 30 are general OPDs. Presently, eSanjeevani serves around 14,000 patients daily.

The technology is available in over 550 districts in India. Over 10% of the users of eSanjeevani are aged 60 and above. Close to around one-fourth of the total patients have used eSanjeevani more than once, indicating that the public now prefers telemedicine solutions over physically visiting hospitals.

Considering the potential social impact of this new digital method of health service delivery, many states have created several applications around it. For instance, in Kerala, eSanjeevaniOPD is used to provide health services to the inmates of the Palakkad District Jail. In Himachal Pradesh, it is being rolled-out in old-age homes.

The quick adoption of eSanjeevaniOPD services across the country has enabled the launch of a wide range of speciality and super-speciality OPDs, including alternative medical systems such as AYUSH and naturopathy. Kerala is already setting up OPDs to offer the services in District Early Intervention Centres. These current 14 online OPDs each has a team made up of a psychologist, special educator, speech therapist, and physiotherapist. They collectively address common issues regarding child development and health.

State governments are also establishing robust digital health ecosystems that include IT-savvy human and infrastructural resources to boost the adoption of eSanjeevani. Apart from training clinicians, the health informatics group of the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) in Mohali is supplying end-to-end technical services including the development, implementation, and operations of the platform.

The top ten states with the highest consultations are Tamil Nadu (319,507), Uttar Pradesh (268889), Madhya Pradesh (70,838), Gujarat (63,601), Kerala (62,797), Himachal Pradesh (49,224), Andhra Pradesh (39,853), Karnataka (32,693), Uttarakhand (31,910), and Maharashtra (12,635).

Similarly, the government recently launched a free digital platform and a mobile application to monitor COVID-19 vaccine deliveries in real-time. It will record data and enable people to self-register for vaccination.

As OpenGov Asia reported, there are five modules on the Co-WIN app: administrator, registration, vaccination, beneficiary acknowledgement, and report. The administrator module is for officials who will conduct the vaccination sessions.

The registration module is for people to get registered for vaccination. It will upload bulk data on co-morbidity provided by local authorities or surveyors. In the vaccination module, the user’s details will be verified, and in the beneficiary acknowledgement module, a certificate will be sent to them about their vaccination. In the first two stages, the government will vaccinate priority groups, which include frontline and emergency workers.

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