WHO recommends one doctor for every 1,000 people, but India’s doctor-patient ratio is still much lower, with 1,445 people having access to one doctor. A shortage of doctors, rising costs in the healthcare sector, and an ever-increasing population make the conventional health care models unsustainable to a large extent. Virtual health and newer technology may be able to combat these issues and make healthcare more easily accessible.
Healthcare experts are continually looking for ways to increase a patient’s access to healthcare by making it convenient for them. And modern digital healthcare offers an array of possibilities. It enables healthcare professionals to treat and diagnose patients without necessarily seeing them. By using various technology-driven platforms, healthcare professionals can use live video, audio chat or text instantly to address concerns and remotely diagnose the patient’s condition. Therefore, the traditional way of delivering in-person care will be taken over by virtual wellness.
Further to this, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of digital healthcare giving rise to the rise of telemedicine apps. These apps gives patients access to care from their phones or tablets, making it extremely beneficial to access a healthcare professional. Virtual healthcare is convenience optimized, it helps patients and doctors use technology to communicate in real-time without being in the same place. This will be of great help especially for patients who have a busy schedule, lack mobility and have restricted access to transportation or reside in remote parts of the country.
Virtual healthcare can be lifesaving in situations where there is a shortage of qualified care providers. It creates a higher level of awareness, minimizes hospitalization while increasing the number of patients who can be attended to and can access constant monitoring, post-operation or hospitalization.
One of the less addressed benefits of digital healthcare is the repository of data that would come from it. The insights from this data can be used to track connections between diseases, lifestyles and determine how everyday practices increase or reduce chances of developing a medical condition. It would enable the tracking of new illnesses, and highlight the worsening of existing ones. Consulting early on could help shorten the timeframe of the illness, considerably reducing patient suffering. Vast amounts of data would also help make considerable progress in preventive care.
While there are obvious privacy matters concerning how health data is used, if appropriately handled, data attained by healthcare technology could help scientists and researchers improve overall healthcare.
Treating certain conditions virtually can be challenging and may not always be the best option given the condition of certain diseases that might require emergency hospitalization or immediate personal care. However, a virtual treatment is often beneficial in treating common illnesses, getting second opinions online, giving instructions for physiotherapy, managing chronic conditions, providing consultation or even monitoring certain conditions from home. In any case, if the patient is suffering from a serious condition, the remote healthcare provider will have to ask them to seek real-time personal care by someone who can physically examine them.
Thus, the benefits of virtual wellness are many and quite crucial to help patients throughout. Virtual wellness and digital healthcare has proven greatly effective in the sustenance of the healthcare ecosystem during the pandemic and the lockdown imposed during the aftermath of the pandemic. Looking at the transformation in the healthcare landscape, it is for sure that virtual wellness, digital healthcare and telemedicine shall stay and be a part of the new normal. Hence, there should be an increased effort by both healthcare providers and the government to ensure the creation of such services to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare sector.