Telemedicine in India

Provided is a link to a press release announcing a new telemedicine program launched this week in the village of Shirgaon, Maharashtra, India.  The program is intended to help eliminate the problem with Filariasis and Lymphedema in the village (Filariasis is a parasitic disease that causes Lymphedema, or swelling due to a blockage of lymph vessels).  With this new service, patients can get a general consultation for Rs. 30-50, or approximately $1 American, and/or special medical kits for Rs. 2000, or approximately $41 American.

The program was launched on Friday, so results will not be available for a while, but the intent is obviously a positive one.  An immediate concern I think of is that of even the limited cost in such an region–even if one can afford a consultation, someone telling you that you’re sick when you cannot afford to do anything about it isn’t especially helpful.  A more subtle problem is complications related to the disease at hand; part of the beauty of telemedicine is that the doctors can come to the patient, especially useful when the patients have mobility issues. Extreme lymphedema from filariasis can result in elephantiasis, and even with milder cases, movement can be limited.  Getting to the center for treatment may be troublesome.

Original Post by Christina Murphy

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One response to “Telemedicine in India

  • jessicarschofield

    In your write up, you made a very good point and I absolutely agree with you. Reduced prices in one part of the healthcare process are not enough if that same deduction is not reflected across the board. At least in my opinion, there are 4 parts of the healthcare process which are critical to achieving the best and most complete care: analysis, availability, affordability, and access. First, a patient must be able to consult a certified doctor and obtain an accurate diagnosis. Secondly, a healthcare infrastructure must be able to provide the necessary resources and services. For example, it doesn’t do any good for a doctor to know how to control TB if he doesn’t have a negatively pressured hospital room in which to house the infected person and effectively contain the bacteria. Thirdly, a person must be able to afford the costs of the healthcare services and treatments. Lastly, a person must be able to access the services available. In other words, he/she must have the means to overcome blocks to that access, such as transportation. A patient won’t receive the best care possible if he/she is unable to meet every one of the above points.

    Original Comment by Gisella Collazo

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