India’s health environment is on the verge of a paradigm shift. After being resistant to change for the longest time, the sector is now open to innovation and digital technology-driven medical assistance has become a requirement in the midst of the pandemic.
There has been a growing tendency among individuals over the past few months to see a doctor over a video call, digitally pursue a diagnosis, and even order medicines online.
We talk to Mr Satish Kannan, Co-founder & CEO, MediBuddy about how telemedicine is silently making India’s healthcare ecosystem future-ready. Here’s is an excerpt of the interview:
In post-Covid times, what are the advantages of opting for a digital healthcare platform?
Telehealth has become essential during a pandemic. The fear of coming in contact with Covid-19 during in-person medical visits has led to a greater interest in, and use of telemedicine to provide and receive health care.
Using a digital healthcare platform has several advantages, including cost savings, convenience, and the ability to provide care to people with mobility limitations, or those in rural areas who do not have access to a local doctor or clinic. Other benefits are that Individuals enjoy digital data access & instructions and Information is simple and easy to document.
How new telemedicine guidelines changed the landscape for digital healthcare?
With adherence to the guidelines, the digital healthcare sector now attracts new customers with ease and has been able to gain their trust & aided in the conversion of telemedicine and e-pharmacy sectors. Individuals are now more open to taking a consultation online.
Additionally, insurance companies now cover costs related to digital health consultations but not as a replacement of OPD. Medical Council of India has issued ‘Telemedicine practice guidelines’ on 25th of March 2020, enabling registered Medical Practitioners to provide Healthcare using telemedicine. This has also added to the adoption of digital healthcare.
In a country like India, where people still do not solely rely on digital ways. Do you think it will act as a barrier for digital healthcare platforms?
Ideally, no. People always resist change. However, over the last few years, we have seen a massive positive change in providing health-tech solutions to patients. As the use of the internet is becoming more widespread, smartphones more accessible, affordable and with various modes of digital payments, we believe that in the coming few years, we are on the right path to providing the best-in-class healthcare services.
Additionally, COVID-19 has been a tailwind situation. Like demonetization was to digital payments, COVID-19 is making an adaption of online health exponentially faster. More and more individuals are now open to talking to a doctor online. We at MediBuddy strongly believe that entry to healthcare for an individual will start with teleconsultation and then move to physical consultation, labs and others as required.
There is a digital gap in India, so how MediBuddy is planning to break this barrier?
In a country of 1.38 million, we have over 500 million smartphone users. It is true that everybody does not have access to a smartphone. However, in a family, at least one person has access to internet/smartphone(usually the bread earner). The access to internet/smartphone is utilized by the entire family for various purposes like gaming, shopping, banking & healthcare.
We also have web-based consultation for the users in tier 3 and 4 cities of India, who may not be familiar with the concept of mobile applications, but have access to the internet. We have removed the necessity of using a mobile application by providing an easy-to-use web service to cater to their healthcare needs.
After MediBuddy closes $40 Million in Series B. What are the goals you are taking forward?
We began our journey with a vision of making healthcare accessible to a billion Indians. Each passing day reminds us to work harder, to reach the next level. Currently, we cater to the healthcare needs of 35000 Indians & our next milestone is to be a trusted health buddy to all & help 1lakh patients daily.