Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that Tele-medicine technology is going to be the main pillar of India’s future health care system.
Launching the Tele-Digital Healthcare Pilot Program at BHU, Varanasi, Dr Jitendra Singh said, innovative healthcare solutions like Tele-medicine could save India between 4-5 billion US dollars every year and replace half of in-person outpatient consultations. The Minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital Health Mission is the next frontier to ensure healthcare delivery is accessible, available, and affordable to all, particularly the poor living in rural and inaccessible terrain. He said, Telemedicine in the country has proven to be cost effective by about 30% less than equivalent in-person visits.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that though Telemedicine technology was in vogue for quite some time in the country, but it got a fillip in post-COVID era and in the wake of PM Modi’s push to Digital Health Ecosystem in India.
Referring to Drone delivery of vaccines in some parts of India, the Minister said, with rapid advancement in technology, Robotic Surgery will also become a reality very soon and future doctors will increasing don the mettle of Tele-Doctors.
Pointing out to very low doctor-patient ratio in India that is about one per 1,457 Indian citizens, Dr Jitendra Singh said, Tele-medicine is no longer an option but a necessity. He said, about 65 percent of India’s population that lives in rural villages, where the doctor-patient ratio is as low as one doctor per 25,000 citizens and therefore they must get best of medical advice from doctors based in towns and metropolitan cities. He said, Telemedicine will not only help the patients save their time and money, but also the doctors who can quickly assist their patients over a call for the same and actively engage in promptly treating patients with major ailments.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the project starting in three districts of Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Kamjong in Manipur will cover 60,000 patients in the initial phase and it will be scaled up gradually to cover the entire country in the coming years. Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous body of Department of Science and Technology at the Centre has designed a pilot Tele-diagnostics project in collaboration with IIT Madras-Pravartak Foundation Technologies & CDAC Mohali. This will also generate Electronic Health Record (EHR) for Indian population.
The Minister said, the project is a scalable pilot PLUG and PLAY model oriented to provide quality medical care to underprivileged women and children living in remote areas at affordable costs. The key activities include examination of the patients: women/ children with wearable devices, transferring the health data record through the e-sanjeevani cloud to a pool of doctors for analysis, and concurrently for development of EHR. The parameters that would be analysed include: ECG, Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, Lipid Profile, Haemoglobin & Foetal Doppler.
It may be recalled that Dr Jitendra Singh has established tele-consultation facility in his Lok Sabha Constituency of Udhampur-Kathua-Doda from his MP-LAD Fund, in the District Hospital Udhampur with all the Panchayats connected with it and it is being monitored on a regular basis.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given very high priority to the Health Sector and this year’s budget increased the spending on healthcare by 137%, which is in line with industry expectations of 2.5%-3% of the GDP. The Minister informed that India will spend Rs 2.23 lakh crore on healthcare this fiscal including Rs 35,000 crore on Covid-19 vaccines.
The Minister said that various health care schemes launched by Modi Government such as PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission, Ayushman Bharat Jan ArogyaYojana, Ayushman Health and Wellness Centres, Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) and Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission have made healthcare facilities accessible and affordable to millions of poor people in the country.