Telemedicine could solve India’s healthcare woes says UN official

With the growing cost of healthcare becoming a major headache for governments across the world, tele-medicine could provide a solution to India and other countries grappling with the problem. Listing the advantages of tele-medicine, Alice Lee, the chief of the UN programme on space applications said that developed countries too were now relying on tele-medicine. “In Germany, officials expect to save 300 euros (INR 19,000) on each patient through tele-medicine. n the US, specialists are not able to reach the patients residing in rural areas” and telemedicine has been effective in such cases,” Lee said. Tele-medicine uses satellite technology to establish link between a doctor and patient and is one of the thematic ares of sustainable applications of space technology. It ensure that right medication reaches the patient at much lesser cost. Lee said that in India, the need for tele-medicine could be gauged from the fact that nearly 85 per cent of doctors reside in urban areas, while a significant number of patients are from the rural ares. In India in the next 2-3 years, “we plan to connect 512 hospitals with tele-medicine facility,” Lee said. On the specific areas where tele-medicine could prove its mettle in the Indian context, Lee said, “Tele-consultation (between a doctor and patient), tele-survey, tele-X ray, tele-pathology and tele-opthalmology are some of the areas, which can benefit.”

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