COVID-19 and new approaches to healthcare
Every generation witnesses a difficult moment or event that drastically alters its thinking and approaches to challenges. SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was one such black swan moment. The country's citizens suffered immensely, and our healthcare infrastructure was swamped by a sudden deluge of COVID -19 patients.
At the same time, COVID-19 accelerated acceptance of digital approaches to healthcare delivery. It would not be an exaggeration to state that the acceptability levels of digital medium, that were achieved, amongst patients and doctors, in one year, would have been otherwise achieved in 10 years! Care moved closer to people and geographic distances no longer presented an obstacle. As medical tourism, both international and domestic, collapsed and people moved less due to restrictions, we saw a rising acceptance for telemedicine. Large healthcare providers also started establishing presence in smaller towns. This led to citizens in tier 3 towns being able to access care by visiting local healthcare facilities where they could avail of expert advice from physicians in the metros through digital means. To enable this rapid adoption of digital medium, healthcare practitioners partnered with technology providers to provide the necessary backbone.
As a country with a bright future, we can only work towards ensuring better access to care for our citizens. As the government and private sector work towards realising this goal, a partnership-based approach to healthcare will greatly improve outcomes while ushering in efficiencies and cost savings. This will undoubtedly have a multiplier effect on care delivery and in the process greatly contribute to the better health of all India's citizens.