A deep dive
It is indeed a sad state of affair that rural areas, where about 67% of Indian population resides (according to a 2016 statistics by World Bank), do not have access to proper diagnostic services. This observation is no less an oxymoron to a 15% annual growth of Indian healthcare industry. This can be majorly blamed on the poor connectivity to these areas and low income, thus low affordability, of the people residing in these areas. And the spending of rural population on the pathological services remains low because of the absence of laboratories. Such a vicious circle!
Most of the world-class healthcare and diagnostics facilities in India are concentrated in and around tier 1 and 2 cities. These services are far from the reach of the rural population and to avail them, people have to make multiple trips and back-and-forth travels to the nearby city. The level of inconvenience and amount of time and cost involved do not require a supportive argument. Based on this, we can only the condition of an economically weak chronic patient in a remote village.
Government-run primary healthcare centres at such locations only provide basic health services and a hygienic arrangement. Several of those centres are running short of trained doctors, medical staff, and qualified pathologists and lab technicians. Therefore, the patient-pathologist ratio always remains high and not everyone gets the required quality and timely help. Moreover, these laboratories are not well-equipped to conduct an accurate diagnosis. Lack of proper diagnostic services often results in the late identification of the symptoms of illness and less effective treatments.
To make the matter worse, there are many illegal laboratories with unqualified pathologists operating in rural locations which comes as a serious threat to the health of people because of lack of standard options for them.
While the government has been focusing on improving the healthcare and diagnostic conditions in these areas, with the current layout and operating model, the goal still looks too far to attain in near future.
How does eHealth plan to make the standard services available to rural areas?
Like many industries and other branches of medical science, diagnostic services too are receiving a gift of technology. With the help of technology, eHealth plans to make these services available to people in their village, town or city. Let’s see, how.
With its franchise model, eHealth aims to reach the remotest of a village in the country through its eHealth clinics and eHealth diagnostics. Its goal is to make quality primary healthcare available and affordable to every citizen in the country.
Through its super-specialty clinics called eHealth Centers, eHealth intends to offer a comprehensive range of services including consultation, diagnostics, and emergency care. The emergency care involves trained staff and standard facilities cater to the emergency health needs of the people. eHealth will have some of the best doctors from the field offering a superlative medical care while ascertaining the patient does not have to go through unnecessary treatments. Using its lifetime free sibling product eHealth ID, patients can update and upload their health records and upon updating detailed reports and analysis, eHealth would establish an eHealth clinic in that location to address their medical needs with its multi-specialty healthcare services.
Since most of the minor health issues could be treated in primary healthcare, without a need to visit a hospital, these centers will be able to address several challenges related primary healthcare within the community.
Besides, this ID will also be used to set up eHealth diagnostic centers and lab partnership. These centers will be equipped with the latest applicable developments in medical technology which will be able to investigate the illness symptoms at a much earlier stage with impressive precision. These centers will work in collaboration with international standard laboratories to conduct specialty tests and generate high quality and accurate reports. This will be helpful in carrying out an effective treatment plan for the patients. These diagnostic centers will involve an online recordkeeping where all the records will be kept in one place and made accessible to the patients and treating doctors 24/7.
Basic healthcare is the primary requirement and basic right of all the citizens in the country, including the people in rural areas and towns. An efficient and capable diagnostic facility is the must first step towards an effective treatment. For ages, most of the rural population have been devoid of access to standard diagnostic centres in their vicinity. However, eHealth pledges to put a full stop to this challenge and transform the operating diagnostics model in those locations. Not only does it look to carry out a timely and accurate investigation of symptoms, it also ensures to minimise the inconvenience of the patients and alleviate their financial liabilities associated with the tests. It is a call-out to those remotest locations lacking these services thus far – look, pathologists are on their way!