Turning Point for Telemedicine

Anand Parthasarathy

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Credit: Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

 

Shruti Rajan is a clinical psychologist, attached to a private clinic in Mangalore, Karnataka. She sees a steady stream of patients, some of whom travel over a hundred kilometres across the border from Kasargod in Kerala – thanks to her command of the Malayalam language. The sudden Covid-19 lockdown in March deprived many such patients of their regular counselling sessions.

Cut off for weeks from friendly contact, some developed mental stress. Shruti suggested that they might try a video session by installing a free Skype app – preferably on a laptop. Six outstation patients did – and in the months since then, they have found much-needed solace – at the end of a video call.

“Eye contact doesn't always feel natural, and judging body language and mood is difficult in a video, compared to face to face sessions. But we could avert some crises. We retained that crucial link,” Shruti says. Even after the lockdown restrictions were relaxed some of these patients asked if they could consult via video and save the time and expense of travel.

Gaffoor is 75 and lives in a village off the Pune-Ahmednagar highway. He takes regular medication for his heart condition which is complicated by acute diabetes. His medication is not available nearby and he depends on friends who came from Pune. After five weeks of lockdown, Gaffoor ran out of his stock and was in a panic. Then a neighbour’s son “Googled” to locate an online pharmacy that could send him his medicines by Speed Post (no couriers served the village). The boy scanned and ‘whatsapped’ Gaffoor’s prescription and made the payment using his BHIM app. A month’s stock of drugs arrived three days later – IndiaPost was making all essential deliveries...Read More