Telemedicine: Metamorphosing Indian Healthcare


Minhaj Zia,
Managing Director, Polycom India & SAARC

Telemedicine market is an emerging sector in India. The healthcare shortage in rural areas and increasing size of the middle class proves to be a major boost to the telemedicine market informs Minhaj Zia, Managing Director, Polycom India & SAARC to Prathiba Raju of Elets News Network (ENN)

How important and huge is the telemedicine market and video conferencing in our country? In next five years how will the market shape up?

India is having the key demographics and geography that can leverage the full benefits of video conferencing both in healthcare and the health science sectors. Large travel distances, traffic congestion and increasing pharmaceutical manufacturing provide an environment that can truly benefit from the use of this technology. Also, the doctor shortage in rural areas and increasing size of the middle class which will result in increased demand for services regardless of where people are located. The increasing size of the private healthcare sector is a key driver for growth.

A report by Government of India, showcases that telemedicine is a fast emerging sector in India. In 2012, the telemedicine market in India was valued at US$ 7.5 million, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent to US$ 18.7 million by 2017. Incorporating technology like video into the delivery of healthcare services is critical in creating a positive healthcare future globally. For instance, services such as virtual consultations and remote monitoring, mentioned in participant responses, will enable healthcare accessible to almost everyone. This will be vital in tackling many of the challenges that will impact the industry over the coming years.

In tele-presence and video conferencing, what is the USP of Polycom?

Polycom’s USP is that it offers easyto- use, interoperable video solutions that are backwards – and forward – compatible and deliver the best Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). We take a partner – centric approach to delivering the most complete video solutions— with the most flexible delivery options. We are not only propagating an open and interoperable platform that allows all vendors to work together for the benefit of enterprises, but also lowering the total cost of ownership for them by using up to 50 per cent less bandwidth.

To expand the reach and ROI (return on investment) of video investment, Polycom provides the broadest support for industry standards and protocols, and forwardand backwards-compatibility with millions of systems. We also provide integration into popular UC platforms including Microsoft, IBM, HP, Cisco, Avaya, and Siemens.

In comparison to a tablet or smartphone, which is the most sought after module for video conferencing?

India, like other countries can benefit from the advancement of video and voice solutions. Nowadays, many healthcare professionals carry the phone or tablet of their choice and this technology allows them to have secure connectivity on those devices. Therefore, mobility is the key for a better healthcare today, to integrate Telehealth into the physicians’ everyday workflow. Polycom’s telemedicine solution allows clinicians to provide a high level interaction to provide patient care regardless of patient and clinician location. High definition video, along with our ecosystem of telemedicine providers allows organisations to provide diagnostic quality care from a distance. Also, the requirement for continual medical education conflicts with demand for care especially as requirements on medical knowledge is increasing every year.

Polycom real time high definition video along with our video content management solutions allow healthcare professionals to receive education over real time video on any device, live streaming sessions or watch archived sessions at their own convenience. This flexibility and high level interaction is crucial in the dynamic and ever changing field of medicine. While benefiting from the telemedicine and medical education platform that Polycom provides, a healthcare organisation can also use it for administrative purposes. Moving information in the form of high definition video rather than people provides an efficient way to conduct business on a day-to-day basis.

How is Polycom Real Presence platform changing the dynamics of the video conferencing market in India particularly in the healthcare space?

Polycom helps close distance barriers by connecting patients, practitioners, specialists, and case managers utilising collaborative standards-based video solutions for PCs and Tablets. Polycom connects the entire healthcare team so that they can communicate over video from anywhere to support patient centered care. One can grow very large telehealth networks with the Polycom RealPresence Platform which utilizes a standards based, scalable, open system approach. In addition to live point to point and multi-point video calls, it supports recording, archiving and web based video educational sessions for network members, and provides the resiliency and reliability needed in large video network deployments.

TelehealthCan you sketch details of your presence in the pharma sector, are you looking out to tapping SMBs, particularly any cloud computing technology used?

SMB adoption continues to grow at a faster pace than other segments, and video conferencing vendors continue to target SMBs by creating products that are easy to install and use, as well as less expensive. SMBs live in a mobile, social, global world. The leading India-based Global Pharmaceutical Company, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories selected Polycom Real Presence Video Collaboration Solutions to Accelerate Drug Development and Time to Market. The company has selected Polycom immersive video collaboration solutions to enable executives and employees across two major corporate offices in Hyderabad, India, and Bridge water, New Jersey, USA to collaborate face-to-face via secure, high-definition video. Hyderabad and Bridge water, New Jersey corporate centres are fitted with document cameras to display samples of drugs and generics for real-time inspections with FDA officials, facilitate product reviews with co-workers, and sample showcases for buyers. Dr. Reddy’s also uses Polycom Real Presence® Mobile video solution to allow executives to join critical internal meetings from anywhere while on the move.

Polycom globally has a major chunk of healthcare clients. Your plans of expansion for the next fiscal?

We now need to work with policy makers to develop a Telehealth friendly environment so doctors are incentivised to use different delivery models that benefit patients and the overall healthcare system. This is where we look to medical associations to establish by-laws and lead the way within their specific specialty group to validate the use of this technology that can provide services to populations across India that never had them before.

Tell us about some of the new directions that the technology is taking?

One area we’re particularly focused on is Tele health. With more people entering India’s middle class, we’ll have more demand for healthcare. Telehealth market share is estimated to be a fast emerging sector in India. India’s central government increased the budgeted allocation on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from INR 275 billion in FY14 to INR 352 billion in FY15, which will increase expenditure on Health IT as private and public organisations look at efficient ways to overcome the challenges of providing healthcare.

Healthcare organisations are under pressure globally. Aging populations, rising costs, large geographic distances and a shortage and mal-distribution of healthcare providers is forcing healthcare organisations to look at different way of providing care. Video has been proving as a way to increase efficiencies in patient care through telemedicine, medical education through live, streaming and archived video and for use in administrative applications that increase the efficiency of the organisation.



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