15 Apr 2020

India is making some major headway towards providing universal health coverage. However, a significant challenge is the limited number of qualified doctors and other healthcare professionals available in our country. Telemedicine is a solution to this limitation as it allows consultation, diagnosis, and treatment by healthcare professionals from remote locations with the help of technology. The requirement of telemedicine was starkly visible during the current COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown. It significantly helped in reducing hospital visits, waiting period and long travel to and from the hospital. Other benefits of telemedicine include timely and faster access to healthcare services, convenience, cost-saving and adequate documentation of health records. Until recently, there was no legislation or guidelines on how telemedicine could be practiced in India. In view of the current pandemic, the Government of India has timely come up with the Telemedicine Practice Guidelines on 25th March 2020.  This guideline forms a part of the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002, and is numbered Appendix-5. With this, there is now some legitimacy attached to the service and the guidelines would pave the way for a statutory legislation on the same lines in future.>>

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