Govt’s Telemedicine Service

The government’s National Telemedicine Service – eSanjeevani has crossed another milestone by completing 3 million (30 lakh) consultations. Currently, the National Telemedicine Service is operational in 31 states and union territories and daily over 35,000 patients across the country are using this innovative digital medium – eSanjeevani, to seek health services.

The National Telemedicine Service, set up by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare comprises of two variants of eSanjeevani namely – doctor to doctor (eSanjeevani AB-HWC) telemedicine platform based on a hub and spoke model and patient to doctor telemedicine platform (eSanjeevani OPD) which provides outpatient services to the citizens in the confines of their homes. eSanjeevani AB – HWC is being implemented at health & wellness centres under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, and by December 2022 it will be made operational at 1,55,000 Health & Wellness centres across India. It was rolled out in November 2019 and Andhra Pradesh was the first state to roll out eSanjeevani AB-HWC services. Since its rollout, over 1000 hubs and around 15000 spokes have been set up in various states. eSanjeevani AB-HWC has completed around 900,000 consultations.

eSanjeevani OPD provides digital health services to the citizens through more than 250 online OPDs set up on eSanjeevani OPD. Over 220 of these online OPDs are specialist OPDs and the rest are general OPDs. eSanjeevani OPD was rolled out on April 13, 2020, during the first lockdown in the country when all the OPDs were closed. So far, over 21,00,000 patients have been served through eSanjeevani OPD.

In a short period, the government’s National Telemedicine Service has started aiding the Indian healthcare delivery system by plugging the digital health divide that exists in urban and rural India. It is also addressing the shortage of doctors and specialists at the ground level while reducing the burden on secondary and tertiary level hospitals. In line with the National Digital Health Mission, eSanjeevani is also boosting the digital health ecosystem in the country.

Leading 10 States in terms of adoption (number of consultations) of eSanjeevani are Tamil Nadu (642708), Uttar Pradesh (631019), Karnataka (607305), Andhra Pradesh (216860), Madhya Pradesh (204296), Gujarat (195281), Kerala (93317), Maharashtra (84742), Uttarakhand (74776) and Himachal Pradesh (67352). As regards adoption amongst districts, eSanjeevani has been used by citizens in around 600 districts. Nationally, over 31,000 doctors and paramedics have been trained and on boarded eSanjeevani, of these around 14,000 doctors practice telemedicine on eSanjeevani OPD and over 17,000 doctors and Community Health Officers use eSanjeevani AB-HWC.

The quick and widespread adoption of eSanjeevani reflects that a significant proportion of outpatient visits can be clinically managed effectively remotely. Patients with not so urgent medical conditions are using eSanjeevani without having to expose themselves to the risk of being infected and without compromising the quality of care.

The top five districts with the largest number of consultations are Salem, TN (123658), Madurai, TN (60547), Hassan, KA (43995), Meerut, UP (35297), Rae bareli, UP (34642). It shows that citizens in tier 3 and 4 cities find eSanjeevani even more useful. Further 18.15% of the patients on eSanjeevani OPD fall in the age group of up to 18 years and the majority of patients (50.35%) fall between 20 and 40 years whereas 22.89% of patients are between 40 and 60 years of age and around 9% patients are senior citizens. The data shows that female patient (54.66%) outnumber male patients on eSanjeevani OPD.

The Health Informatics group of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in Mohali is providing end-to-end technical services and support from designing efficient workflows, development, implementation, managing operations, of eSanjeevani besides training clinicians all with minimal disruptions. The Health Ministry in consultation with the States are proposing innovative and high impact services around eSanjeevani and C-DAC Mohali is consistently working to enrich eSanjeevani with new and useful features and functionalities to empower patients and doctors.

Very soon the iOS app of eSanjeevani OPD will be made available on iOS App Store and this is expected to further increase the penetration of the National Telemedicine Service in the country. The Government of Jharkhand is setting up a special OPD on eSanjeevani OPD that would issue COVID-19 co-morbidities e-certificates to the public to facilitate COVID-19 inoculation for them. In the ongoing phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country, all such citizens that are aged, or will attain the age of, 45 years to 59 years as of January 1 2022, and have any of the specified comorbidities, which have been recommended by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) for getting vaccinated subject to the certification to that effect by a registered medical practitioner.

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