The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the adoption of Telemedicine, transformed the patient and practitioner experience. Globally, telemedicine adoption doubled since the year 2016. With the pandemic, and aided by the removal of many regulatory barriers, and various supports to accelerate the vision of “Digital India” telehealth adoption is expected to grow between 60 to 90 %.
Realizing the benefits of telehealth, and based on the learning from Covid-19 scenarios, Siddha E-Clinic started its humble beginning in the year 2020 as 100% tele medicine consulting practices and reached out to more than 1000+ patients across various geographies within the couple of years of its establishments. We created a big impact among Covid-19 patients and saved many precious life.
At Siddha E-clinic, we well understood the potential of digital initiatives by Indian government and hence we are one of the early adopter of this digital transformation by leveraging the technology to deliver the medical services at any remotest part of the country and even any part of the world. We use the digital consultation through state of the art video conferencing, schedule on-line booking though an integrated software tool, and share digital prescriptions and invoices. We use cloud based data storage and information access through a well secured and no-compromise security infrastructures. Medicines are being delivered though professional logistics services at the patients door steps.
As the pandemic subsided, patients once again wanted to see their doctors face-to-face. Hence the challenge for the doctors is to combine the best aspects of both virtual and in-person medicine to deliver hybrid healthcare that proves more efficient while creating a more rewarding patient experience.
While telemedicine and in-person patients care each offer unique benefits and drawbacks, combined they create a synergistic model that delivers better, more cost-effective healthcare and more patient’s satisfactions.
Telehealth promises healthcare services in many ways, from extending available hours and reducing facility costs to improving patient engagement. Telehealth can help address doctor shortages, extend healthcare into geographically isolated areas, and deliver compelling patient education.
However, doctors may not be able to properly diagnose and treat many medical conditions -especially severe ones - virtually. And some patients may not be comfortable with an online appointment or have the technical knowledge to participate successfully.
Traditional, in-person patient care, while slower and more expensive to deliver, remains at the core of healthcare because it is preferred by many patients and offers physicians and advanced practitioners a more comprehensive view of the patient’s health and wellbeing during an exam.
While the pandemic revealed the important role virtual care technology plays in the delivery of safe and effective remote health services, it also revealed another truth: virtual care is not a replacement for in-person care. Depending on a patient’s unique clinical requirements, health professionals will always need to have face-to-face appointments available for their patients.
Siddha E-Clinic combined the use of in-person and virtual visits to transform its health care service deliveries into a Hybrid Model.
Currently, Siddha E-Clinic is one among the fastest growing alternative care providers in Siddha system of treatments not only in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu but also in all regions without any boundaries.
Siddha E-Clinic is an alternative treatment care clinic which blends the tradition with technology. It delivers the medical services in a hybrid model – both online and off line i.e. by virtual and face-to-face.
Complexity of Patient’s health condition varies patient to patient. Doctor exercises her professional judgment to decide whether a telemedicine consultation is appropriate in a given situation or an in-person consultation is needed in the interest of the patient. She considers all necessary diagnosis before choosing to proceed with any counselling or medication. Doctor shall uphold the same standard of care as in an in-person consultation but within the intrinsic limits of telemedicine.
Telemedicine consultation is not anonymous: both patient and the Doctor need to know each other’s identity. Doctor verifies and confirms patient’s identity by name, age, address, email ID, phone number, registered ID or any other identification as may be deemed to be appropriate.
Likewise, patient can check all the credentials of the Doctor who shall display the registration number given by the State Register of Siddha council, on prescriptions, website, electronic communication (WhatsApp/email etc.) and receipts etc. given to patients.
Patient consent is necessary for any telemedicine consultation. The consent can be Implied or explicit depending on the situations. If the patient initiates the telemedicine consultation, then the consent is implied. An Explicit patient consent is needed if the Doctor invites a Telemedicine consultation.
An Explicit consent is recorded in patient records. Patient can send an email, text or audio/video message. Patient can state his/her intent on phone/video to the Doctor.
Mode of Tele Medicine
Doctor uses primarily 3 modes of communications: Video, Audio or Text (chat, images, messaging, email, fax etc.) depending on merits and situation. Considering the situation, using her best judgment, the Doctor may decide the best technology to use to diagnose and treat.
Doctor makes all efforts to gather sufficient medical information about the patient’s condition before making any professional judgment. If a physical examination is critical for consultation, Doctor shall not proceed until a physical examination can be arranged through an in-person consult.
Doctor shall maintain all patient records including case history, investigation reports, images, etc. as appropriate
First or follow-up
First Consult means:
· The patient is consulting with the Doctor for the first time; or · The patient has consulted with the Doctor earlier, but more than 6 months have lapsed since the previous consultation; or · The patient has consulted with the Doctor earlier, but for a different health condition.
Follow-Up Consult(s) means:
· The patient is consulting with the same Doctor within 6 months of his/her previous in- person consultation and this is for continuation of care of the same health condition.
Doctor preserves Log or record of Telemedicine interaction (e.g. Phone logs, email records, chat/ text record, video interaction logs etc.). Also stores patient records, reports, documents, images, diagnostics, data etc. (Digital or non-Digital) utilized in the telemedicine consultation.
Specifically, in case a prescription is shared with the patient, Doctor maintains the prescription records as required for in-person consultations.
Doctor may prescribe medicines via telemedicine ONLY when the Doctor is satisfied with the gathered adequate and relevant information about the patient’s medical condition and the prescribed medicines are in the best interest of the patient.
Prescribing medications via telemedicine consultation is at the professional discretion of the Doctor
In any emergency, the goal and objective should be to provide in-person care at the earliest. However critical steps could be life-saving and guidance and counselling could be critical. The Doctor, based on her professional discretionary
• Advises first aid • Counselling • Facilitate referral to other Doctors
In all cases of emergency, the patient is advised for an in-person interaction with suitable Registered Medical Practitioner at the earliest.
Technology infrastructure used for Siddha E-Clinic:
Telemedicine platform built on robust IT infrastructure on a high availability mode to support 24*7 basis
Network connectivity established using high speed broadband
Video consultation using high quality application
On-line appointment scheduling through user-friendly scheduler application
Telemedicine services delivery available on both browser based and Mobile ( Android only )
Online payment facilitated through completely secured payment gateway