Online healthcare services include anything and everything that can be delivered online without actually meeting the doctor – like booking an appointment, first consultation, subsequent opinion, ordering lab tests, homecare services bookings and communicating for a procedure overseas.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, online healthcare services are getting more attention. They are becoming increasingly advantageous in meeting medical needs of people while at the same time lowering the risk of infection and the time taken to travel to the healthcare provider for consultation.
Online healthcare services enable patients to now see doctors and medical practitioners resort to video calls with patients. This is a quick and easy way to get the initial screening out of the way. Some quick consultations can end right there. Those that need a second opinion or physical examination can be handled on an individual basis.
Online healthcare is not limited to booking appointments or first consultations where symptoms are discussed and the illness is diagnosed. It moves on to support lab tests too. While patients can book their appointments for home collection of samples, the test results can be directly sent to patients via mobile apps.
These mobile apps enable patients and doctors to maintain and track health records – all in one place. Mobile apps or web apps also offer features to filter by date or search a particular prescription so as to avoid piles and piles of files with patient records.
Further, with the social distancing imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, everything that can be done remotely should be done remotely. People in metros and tier1 and tier2 cities are increasingly becoming aware of mobile and other digital solutions that aid the healthcare industry. The Government of India has also been leveraging the potential of digital healthcare by introducing the Aarogya Setu app and revising the telemedicine practice guidelines.
A number of Indian Startups like Practo, 1mg, Cure.fit etc. have also taken an initiative to offer eHealth services. The COVID-19 pandemic also has favourable impact on ePharmacies. The lockdown and the continued demand for medicines has driven custoemrs to order medicines online too. The adoption of ePharmacy services will definitely increase in the coming months.
Digitization of the healthcare services was right on track – but the pandemic gave it the final push and today we see a lot of healthcare services being provided ‘online’ and the scope of these services keeps getting better.