We are going through a difficult, unique and a challenging time because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has changed our lives remarkably, has affected practically every person, every individual, every professional, every industry. Affected governments across the globe and their functioning in ways more than we could have ever imagined.
Until an effective vaccine is created, Covid is here to stay and the sooner we accept it and change or adapt the way we live, we will be able to cope up with the same in a much efficient manner. The whole world moved to Digital mode of communication across all sectors to keep up with the new normal. And similarly, we all witnessed a major shift in the healthcare industry replacing face to face patient visits with Tele-consultation, which have proven to be a boon for doctors and patients, ensuring safety for all.
This pandemic led to a sudden nation-wide lockdown, the hospitals were turned into Covid centres, leaving other patients in need of care and treatment high and dry. Statistics show that Indians are already into self- medication which can be very dangerous in case of critical conditions. During the early days of Covid, patients had little or no access to the hospitals and they continued to take treatment according to their will and whatever was prescribed to them in their earlier visits to the doctors. To ensure continuity of quality treatment and care for patients with heart disease, it became important to differentiate between deferrable and non-deferrable activity.
In such a scenario, despite being in its early days in terms of acceptance and patient adoption, tele-cardiology has played a pivotal role. While has made sure that patients with cardiovascular diseases get the much needed diagnosis, second opinion and relevant treatment, it moreover helped in limiting clinical visits, unless there was an emergency case which could not otherwise be controlled.
The use of telemedicine within cardiac care primarily seeks to achieve remote, real-time diagnosis and treatment of heart disease - including cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmia.
During this pandemic situation, tele-medicine emerged as a key solution providing all sorts of necessary healthcare related support required by all stakeholders, including - doctor consultation, urgent medicine delivery, home testing and home care. Not only were the existing players seen expanding and stretching their limits but there were many new players and start-ups who entered the market to serve the country in times of such distress. Telemedicine helps in bridging the gap between patients and doctors from overseas by making it possible for medical practitioners or hospitals to consult with different specialists, regardless of their location. However, when it comes to complex medical conditions requiring expert opinion, it's not easy to find and connect with seasoned specialists.
Hypothetically, let's say a patient can identify a trusted doctor abroad; getting an appointment for an office visit with associated travel arrangements could easily take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. With SeekMed, however, a patient can get through a video consultation with a doctor of repute in less than a week. Patients also have a choice to consult with multiple doctors on the platform before deciding on the doctor they best respond to.
Telemedicine holds the potential to easily meet the needs of today's cardiologists and has the capacity to completely revolutionize the delivery of cardiac care.
(DR TS KLER : The author, Dr TS Kler, is a Padma Bhushan recipient, Chairman - Cardiology, PSRI Hospital and a patron of SeekMed)