2021 budget for health care: The Covid-19 pandemic has not only tested the limits of the current healthcare system, but has also opened up new avenues. Telemedicine and online consultation have become an important tool in the field of health. They have been very helpful in caring for patients during the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring the safety of patients and healthcare workers. The sudden onset of the pandemic caught everyone off guard and put immense pressure on hospitals. For many patients stuck at home due to lockdowns or in many cases of home isolation, telemedicine and online counseling have become the only viable option. The pandemic saw the birth of many teleconsultation platforms that offered surveillance and primary health care at home. But many experts have questioned whether the boom in telemedicine and online counseling in India will fade after vaccination campaigns halt the spread of the pandemic and things start to return to “normal.” Will these services fit into the ânormalâ health ecosystem?
Is telemedicine just a pandemic phenomenon?
Speaking to Financial Express Online Ayush Mishra, CEO of Tattvan E-clinics, said he believes telemedicine will continue to exist and expects that in the post-pandemic era, around 40-50 % of their OPD will continue to be conducted by teleconsultation with other innovations in the industry, including AI, ML, mobile operator services, etc. âThe situation of Covid-19 around the world has made people aware of the potential of digitization in this sector and has opened up new opportunities for large companies to explore broader avenues. This is where telemedicine comes in following the publication of 8 years of legal guidelines by the Indian government in March 2020, which gave us a clear picture of teleconsultation and the practice of telemedicine in India. Over the past few months, millions of people have relied on video or phone calls to talk to their healthcare professionals and doctors to discuss their medical issues. Even if the lockdown lifts, clinicians believe telemedicine consultations with patients are there to stay long term to protect against infection, âMishra said.
Telemedicine is here to stay, Mishra says, as it is a viable option for government and business to provide quality health services to the entire rural population. “The national digital health mission will also push this sector to develop in the country in the years to come,” he added.
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Anmol Arora, CEO of DocVita, supported Mishra’s point of view and said that while it is true that the pandemic has required its adoption by caregivers and care seekers, it is also here to stay in the post world. -pandemic. âWe can attribute this change to the benefits for all stakeholders and the associated cost savings, convenience and reduced burden on our healthcare facilities. At the macro level, in a country like India, telemedicine is also the answer to issues such as inequality and lack of access to health care. Healthcare took center stage in 2020. With NDHM’s announcement earlier this year and Dr Harsh Vardhan’s endorsement of NDHM’s healthcare data management policy, we expect a increased budget allocations this year, especially for setting up digital health infrastructure for India. “, opines Arora.
For Doctor on Call co-founder Karan Chopra, telemedicine is here to stay as it is increasingly accepted. âMost people preferred to see a doctor in person, but in the midst of the pandemic, virtual visits have become safer and more convenient than physical visits. Govt. supports the cause and has issued policy guidelines related to telemedicine and doctors have become very comfortable with the technology, âsaid Chopra.
âOnce ecosystem players understand the convenience and cross the initial barrier, there will be more takers. By some estimates, 25-30% of all home care and OP visits will be virtualized in the future, âadded Karan Chopra.
Giving the example of China, Chopra said digital healthcare adoption increased after SARS in the early 2000s and has held steady ever since. âCovid is that time for the rest of the world and would completely transform the delivery of healthcare,â Chopra predicted.
Expectations of the Union of India budget 2021
In anticipation of the upcoming Indian Union budget, Ayush Mishra said India has fought a massive global pandemic with its available health sector resources. Stressing the need for more advanced and technologically robust last mile health facilities in India after the pandemic, Mishra said the health sector expects more specific allocations in this budget. year to mitigate Covid and the growth of the telemedicine industry. âThe government should also support startups and private actors in this segment to increase the current coverage of locations, including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, to provide cutting-edge healthcare facilities in these areas. The telemedicine segment is growing and in the future we expect more technological innovations to take place in the industry, therefore the budget should be well allocated to the healthcare sector to initiate new innovations in order to to prepare to fight pandemics like covid-19 in the future, âsaid Mishra, expressing his expectations for the Union of India’s 2021 budget.
Karan Chopra’s expectations for the 2021 budget also relate to budget support for health. âThis is important, especially in a country like India, where digital health can really deliver care in areas where there is a shortage of doctors. Healthcare platforms connecting patients to physicians must pay GST on their income, while broader healthcare services are exempt from GST, âsaid Chopra. He said these platforms should also be exempt from the GST, and subsidies given in the budget to health tech players can also promote innovation in the sector.