Telemedicine In Homeopathy is Need of the Hour
Telemedicine is the use of electronic information to communicate technologies to provide and support healthcare when distance separates the participants.“Tele” is a Greek word meaning “distance “and “mederi” is a Latin word meaning “to heal”. Time magazine called telemedicine “healing by wire”. Although initially considered “futuristic” and “experimental,” telemedicine is today a reality and has come to stay. Telemedicine allows Homoeopathic Doctors to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. The approach has been through a striking evolution in the last decade and it is becoming an increasingly important part of the Indian healthcare infrastructure.
In the early days, telemedicine was used mostly to connect doctors working with a patient in one location to specialists somewhere else. This was of great benefit to rural or hard to reach populations where Doctors aren’t readily available. Throughout the next several decades, the equipment necessary to conduct remote visits remained expensive and complex, so the use of the approach, while growing, was limited. The rise of the internet age brought with it profound changes for the practice of telemedicine. The proliferation of smart devices, capable of high-quality video transmission, opened up the possibility of delivering remote healthcare to patients in their homes, workplaces or assisted living facilities as an alternative to in-person visits for both primary and specialty care.
Benefits The scope of Telemedicine in Homeopathy is outstanding.Using telemedicine as an alternative to in-person visits has a host of benefits for patients and providers alike.
- No travel expenses or time
- Less time away from work
- Less interference with child or elder care responsibilities
- An answer to the competitive threat of retail health clinics and on-line only provider
- Better patient follow through and improved health outcomes
- Fewer missed appointments and cancellations
- Private payer reimbursement
- Increased revenue
Privacy and Security Since, patient data will be transmitted when telemedicine is used, it is subject to HIPAA regulations. Consumer video services like Skype and Facetime do not meet this standard. In order to maintain compliance, providers must choose technology solutions that use data encryption to protect patient data.
The Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology issued Recommended Guidelines & Standards for Practice of Telemedicine in India (“Guidelines”) in May, 2003. As the name suggests, these Guidelines are not binding, although it is advisable to follow them as various issues arising from Telemedicine have yet not been tested by Indian Courts.
The Guidelines recommend that each healthcare provider should have a unique provider identifier which will flow to all its programs and telemedicine consultation centres (“TCC”). Each of the telemedicine speciality centres (“TSC”) and TCCs are also recommended to have a separate unique and universal identifier code. It is further recommended that each patient also be identified by a unique and universal patient identifier so that one central patient information record can be assimilated, comprehensive medical databases can be built, or if the patient wants, he/she can move across multiple providers without losing data.