'Tele-medicine tech to be main pillar of India's healthcare system'

by IANS |

New Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh on Friday said that tele-medicine technology is going to be the main pillar of India's future health care system.

"Innovative healthcare solutions like tele-medicine could save India between $4-5 billion every year and replace half of in-person outpatient consultations," the Minister said while launching the tele-digital healthcare pilot programme at BHU, Varanasi.

Singh said the project starting in three districts -- Varanasi and Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, and Kamjong in Manipur, will cover 60,000 patients in the initial phase, and 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.

The Minister averred 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.

"Tele-medicine in the country has proven to be cost effective by about 30 per cent less than equivalent in-person visits," Singh said, adding that though Telemedicine technology was in vogue for quite some time in the country, but it got a fillip in the 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.

"Tele-medicine is no longer an option but a necessity," he said, adding about 65 per cent 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.

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