Tele- Medicine For Remote Villages

Sep 9, 2017   //   by admin   //   Knowledge Base  //  No Comments

This paper briefs the reader about the concept of tele medicine, the need of tele medicine especially in remote villages. The advantages and disadvantages for the same.

Tele- Medicine: the definition of Tele medicine can be well established through the word itself. But in simple language, tele medicine is a exchange of medical information from one side to another through the use of electronic media. This is done to improve, maintain, assist patients’ health status.

This communication comprises of several medium for different purposes. For example, mediums as simple as a phone call for consultation to as complex as using surgical tools for operations or surgery. Purposes: assessment, diagnosis, second opinion, treatment, consultation or referrals, teaching classes for preventive practices.

Different Types of Categories are:

  1. Real time/ Synchronous: in this model, there is a direct communication established between the patients and/or the family with the doctor or specialist. This communication involves a phone call or video conferencing for consultation, examinations or operating over the patient. This is referred to as real time since the communication is directly between the parties. This involves usage of high- tech applications and tools for the communication and functioning.
  2. Store and Forward: this medium involves exchange of medical data by one party submitting and other acquiring the information at a convenient time. Hence it is not direct presence at one go, both party’s presence is not required. Largely, medical images, signals, films are sent for consultation and advice from higher specialists in designing the diagnosis and treatment plan.
  3. Asynchronous/ Home Health: this is very different category wherein the patient is assessed and/or monitored from the home directly. Home health equipment consists of vital signs, video conferencing and patient’s stats. This is high tech strategy developed through modern tele medicine since the person at home can receive best care from family while not occupying a bed in the hospital. But these are used for largely post- hospital care or disaster management or assisted living plans.

There is huge amounts of investment that has to be done on the devices that keep the link established and sustained since breakdown in the link could prove disastrous for the lives of the patients. However the situation in the remote villages are slightly different.

Scenario At Remote Villages:

In remote villages of any nations, the situation is rather different. The purpose of tele medicine proves extremely useful since there is lack of health care provisions around. Such villages are largely disconnected to the main spot where the Primary health care units have been established. Many communities dwell inside the locations such as in forest, islands which is marked by extreme rough distance and tough terrain to cross in extreme weathers. The patients doesn’t receive access to any health care since neither the patient has the mobility to travel nor health care provider.

Even if, health care practitioner comes, it is difficult to assess, diagnose especially without lab testing and provide immediate care at the spot. This is highly prevalent in areas which is distant and plagued with common diseases like cholera, malaria etc.

Advantages of Tele Medicine:

  1. Cost- Efficient: Tele medicine is an answer to reaching the health of the people in remote village without expenditure of money. The patient’s considerations over the expenses they have to face due to travel- vehicles, doctor’s units or referrals units is huge saving to the people to whom accessibility was a grave concern. For the professionals also, it saves time to physically reach out. Hence its efficient, convenient and potentially more cost effect delivery of health care.
  2. Saves Time: provision to consult saves lives whether its only urgent cases or at diagnostic level. The time drooled over understanding is minimized thereby buying more time for cure or treatment. Monitoring and evaluation of the patients’ care and treatment can be assessed without expenditure of time and money.
  3. Specialist Consultation- with the power and ability to consult specialist increases so does the chances of accurate diagnosis and treatment. The patients are directly able to share their concerns to the doctors in direct communication pattern. With modern and apt technological advances, tertiary services are provided. Inter or intra state or countries surgeries are conducted through wireless modes.
  4. Preventive care: with the advancement, not just curative but preventive care is offered to the people at remote distances through teaching and sharing of health information/ data. This also increases the access of people to health services thereby outreach of the professionals increases instantly

Disadvantages:

  1. Continuous connection of phone line or net especially in environmental pressures
  2. Man power training to handle the functioning of such tools in emergency time.
  3. Expenditure on tools and technology instead being provision of professionals.

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