( October 23, 2020 )
Smile Foundation is focusing on strengthening the system by setting up telemedicine clinics at subcenters to increase the access to primary healthcare and reduce the burden at the primary healthcare level, under the PPP model.
Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation to know more about the adoption and implementation of telemedicine in providing healthcare services to the most underserved sections of society.
With guidelines set under the “Telemedicine Practice Guidelines” by the Medical Council of India, how would you evaluate the future?
The guidelines give us a clear understanding of the three tiers of telemedicine for communicating through video, audio, and text-based applications. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic people are reluctant to visit doctors and telemedicine in now the new normal for both urban as well as rural populations. The private sector has jumped onto the bandwagon and is interested in providing telemedicine services, particularly in urban areas.
From a policy perspective, what changes do see coming in for telemedicine and telehealth?
There is a strong need for public-private partnerships (PPP) in this domain and policy changes can influence their development at a holistic level. We envisage a larger influx of new players, especially startups, entering the space through various collaborations with the government and other private entities. Policies incubating such organizations, will not only help forge stronger partnerships but also enable a wider audience to access quality healthcare at a lower cost. Smile Foundation is focusing on strengthening the system by setting up telemedicine clinics at subcenters to increase the access to primary healthcare and reduce the burden at the primary healthcare level, under the PPP model. Sustainability will be achieved, by later handing over the functioning telemedicine clinics to the government, for them to operate.