American Megatrends India Director & CEO Sridharan Mani discusses the challenges related to rural healthcare and suggest ways to address them with telemedicine 2.0
Indian rural healthcare has a significant growth potential, as market still remains untapped. Recently, National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) has been allocated close to `20,822 crore (USD 4.14 billion) in 2012-13 for rural healthcare initiatives.
According to McKinsey, the Indian rural healthcare is expected to expand at a pace of 44 percent by 2015, totaling its worth to USD 8.8 billion.
Indian healthcare – the way forward
The growth potential for Indian healthcare is immense. The market opportunities are significant. Being the home for 17.5 percent of world population with world-class doctors and state-of-theart medical facilities, India can provide the best in class healthcare across the globe. However, the challenges are many. The big question is “is india ready to lead the healthcare across the globe?”
Prof K Ganapathy, President, Apollo AMI Vitals+ Networking Foundation, Past President of the AMI Vitals+ Society of India and Adjunct Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai say, “We can’t go far with conventional brick-and-mortal hospitals and AMI Vitals+ is the way forward”.
AMI Vitals+ : Market size
Prof Ganapathy points out that 80 percent of India’s population have no direct, physical access to specialist healthcare and gives some back-of-the-envelope calculations: “Estimates suggest that the telemedicine market is at least for 800 million Indians. Even if half of these 800 million need to consult a specialist once a year, [that still amounts to USD 400 million specialist consultations per year. Even if 10 percent of these are enabled through telemedicine we are talking about 40 million consultations per year from rural India alone. The market potential for telemedicine is obviously enormous”.
According to BCC research, the global telemedicine market in 2010 is USD 9.8 billion and it is expected to be USD 23.0 billion by 2015.
Current state of telemedicine and its challenges
The major challenges of the current telemedicine setup is that it requires dedicated infrastructure, high capital requirements and computer savvy talent pool to access sophisticated systems. The system is not user friendly and not scalable to meet the ongoing demands.
The current infrastructure only provides video conferencing facilities to link patients with specialists. Also, all specialists cannot be made available at the same time as the case requirements may differ. AMI Vitals+ in the current form is not providing better time management for specialists. In some cases, the specialists are required to wait on call for all day long to handle a few patient cases. Also, the current telemedicine system makes the specialist/ physician to be in conferencing location for the day to handle patient calls and it makes them immobile.
With the shortage of specialists and january / 2013 ehealth.eletsonline.com in focus 39 physicians, an intelligent telemedicine system is needed to efficiently identify the patients that require immediate care to be linked with right specialist/physician.
TeleMed 2.0: Technology overview
TeleMed 2.0 architecture is based on M2M Communication Gateway integrated with Publish Subscribe model framework. The illustration of M2M Communication Gateway based on American Megatrends (AMI) M2M Cloud Framework.
TeleMed app for collecting patient information
In today’s world, a portable phone that is based on Android with camera, voice, Bluetooth with built-in 3G support costs less than USD150 and a great replacement for traditional desktop infrastructure used in telemedicine. These android-based devices can be instantly integrated with sensors for SPO2, blood pressure, temperature, ECG and blood sugar for collecting the real-time vitals. The TeleMed application running on these devices can do real-time monitoring based on schedule. Also, they can record and upload the patient information and real-time vitals collected through sensors to hospital information system from remote locations. The application in the devices will have SOS alert mechanism to alert the remote physician/specialist on call, whenever a vital sign cross the threshold that is life threatening or indicating a serious disorder.
TeleMed app for healthcare professionals
The specialists and physicians can now benefit from these advancements and they can access all the patient records with real-time vitals on their iPhones/iPads12 from anywhere across the globe with TeleMed application that is integrated with HIS. The real-time notifications received from patients with realtime vitals collected through sensors indicate the seriousness of the issue and the specialist/physicians can take the appropriate call to save lives. They can have live video/audio communication with the patient/paramedic/nurse instantaneously by directly connecting to peers mobile device.
AMI M2M Cloud Gateway
AMI M2M Cloud Gateway provides the middle-ware interfacing layer support. It runs the notification and business routing engine based on publish-subscribe model. All patient and healthcare professional smartphone devices will get themselves registered with TeleMed application integration gateway. AMI M2M Cloud Gateway constantly monitors the key vitals received from the patients and if any abnormality is found, it immediately invokes the alert engine to alert the right healthcare professional based on the information and routing path. The alert engine sends notification to the healthcare professional along with the real-time vitals received from the patient’s device. This enables the healthcare professional to have a peer-to-peer video conferencing call with a mobile from anywhere in the globe.
TeleMed 2.0: Creating a new vision in healthcare
In summary, TeleMed 2.0 provides the state-of-the-art platform for hospitals and healthcare professionals to provide the best quality healthcare for those who need remote monitoring and healthcare support. This enables the healthcare professionals to be located anywhere and yet provide the best medical attention care to their patients. The relationship between the healthcare professionals and patients are strengthened and medical tourists can feel at peace that they are in good hands and their health is safe. The elderly can live in peace that their vitals are constantly being monitored and abnormality will be notified to their healthcare to take the required medical attention.
With TeleMed 2.0 implementation, the patient care can be improved significantly and healthcare professionals can reach out to many patients remotely that need quality medical attention
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