Telehealth outside the hospital setting

Date:  29 May 2024

Telehealth outside the hospital setting

On 16 May 2024, the Telehealth Special Interest Group, led by SIG sponsor Apollo Hospitals Group, hosted its latest webinar Telehealth outside the hospital settingwith participation from healthcare executives from around the world.  

Getting the care to the last mile

It is critical that we as healthcare providers figure out how to deliver the care that is currently not being delivered to billions of people around the world, and the potential telehealth has in this field is huge. The IHF SIG is a great vehicle to exchange learning from different approaches across the globe.”  

Dr Sai Praveen Haranath from Apollo gave an overview of their innovative telehealth initiatives aimed at reaching undeserved populations and helping manage the huge mainly rural healthcare burden in India. This has led them to focus on 3 key areas: 

  • Augmenting public healthcare through innovative healthcare delivery models 
  • Tech-driven healthcare delivery from primary to quaternary level 
  • Innovations to make healthcare accessible to the undeserved 

Highlighting their “last mile” approach, Dr Sai Praveen detailed the use of mobile health vans, health screenings, medication delivery, and connected ambulances utilizing 5G technology. Using 5G connections to get a live feed from the patient right from the point of pickup to delivery to the hospital has been pivotal in providing real-time medical assistance during transit, especially for critical cardiac and neurological cases. 

Drones and connected devices enabling healthcare delivery 

Prof. Ravi Prakash Mahajan from Apollo further expanded on these innovations by discussing the use of drones for delivering medication and healthcare supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The establishment of multidisciplinary Clinical Command Centers has been a significant development, enabling efficient triage and patient management, reducing emergency incidents and improving patient outcomes by closely monitoring around 200 beds, resulting in a reduction in patient mortality and hospital stay durations. 

The Indonesian telehealth experience 

Dr Anis Faud from the Indonesian Hospital Association (PERSI) offered a comprehensive view of Indonesia’s telehealth landscape. With over 17,000 islands and significant geographical challenges, telehealth in Indonesia has become crucial. Before the pandemic, Indonesia had very few regulations on digital health, including for telemedicine. The pandemic accelerated digital transformation, together with regulatory change, leading to widespread acceptance of telemedicine, with 95% of the population supporting telemedicine services. Indonesia’s regulatory sandbox for telehealth providers facilitates innovative business models, blending public and private sector efforts to overcome healthcare disparities. This forward-thinking approach aims to extend telemedicine services beyond borders, ensuring equitable healthcare access. 

Care continuum across borders  

Lastly, Aditya Bhasin, VP Software at Stanford Healthcare, shared the journey they have undertaken in building the MyHealth app, a custom digital platform that serves as a digital companion for patients. The app creates a consistent experience for patients, their families, and physicians by being context and location-aware. For outpatients, it facilitates seamless one-on-one videos and supports various workflows within the healthcare organization. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on mental health and wellness led to the rollout of capabilities for one-on-one interactions and group classes. These features were extended to inpatients, allowing any physician in the system to join a patient’s room via a simple click. Virtual team rooms were also created, providing virtual waiting rooms for every team and physician, enhancing physician wellness and reducing operational friction. By enabling critical care assistance remotely, healthcare professionals can provide timely interventions anywhere in the world, making telemedicine a truly global solution.  

The ongoing challenge remains: how do we make telemedicine truly cross-border, and how do we regulate it effectively without stifling innovation? 

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