Welcome to SNM IAS Academy for IAS Coaching in Chandigarh. Check out the Knowledge Center for latest Blogs, Articles and Current Affairs Tests

  • Call

  • Email



The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global public health crisis that has overwhelmed the entire healthcare delivery infrastructure. However, one good thing to come out of it is the accelerated adoption of technology in healthcare delivery.

The adoption of technology has been a game-changer in the delivery of healthcare services and the industry has been working tirelessly to implement digital health to ease the burden, increase efficiency and maximise capacity.

Nonetheless, due to the swift adoption of technology, a stark divide has been created between the tech-savvy and the non-tech savvy population. Digital health solutions have been designed to be inclusive but most of them aren’t tailored for the elderly and those who have lower digital literacy.

According to the report by the 75th round of National Sample Survey (NSS), only 4.4 per cent of rural households have a computer as compared to 23.4 per cent in urban households. 42 per cent of urban households have access to the internet, whereas in rural households the figure stands at 14.9 per cent.

As per the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, digital literacy is defined as the ability of individuals and communities to understand and use digital technologies for meaningful actions within life situations. Any individual who can operate a computer/laptop/tablet/smartphone and use other IT related tools is being considered digitally literate. Over the last few years, technology has disrupted the country’s households with the speed of a bullet. In the current climate, we do not need more technology; the requirement is to rather improve the quality of outcomes and increase the accessibility to the existing technology.

As an initiative to bridge the digital divide across rural and urban India, the Government of India launched the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) scheme in 2017The scheme’s objective is to provide 20 hours of basic training on digital devices and the internet, and how these tools can be used to avail government-enabled e-services. So far, approximately 2.76 crore candidates have been certified under the scheme.

The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has undertaken various initiatives using Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the public healthcare system and it is continuously working on planning and introducing more ICT initiatives. These initiatives will have a tremendous impact as mobile technologies penetrate deeper into rural India.

Indian telehealth market

The healthcare stakeholders such as providers, clinics, patients, pharmaceuticals, specialists, wearables etc are all multi-billion dollar industries individually. The problem lies in the fragmented ecosystem.

Furthermore, the tertiary care centres are clustered in cities, which brings about a vast disparity amongst the Indian population who have access to quality healthcare. Hence, thriving to solve this very problem, there is a visible boom in the commercial interest towards the telehealth sector. It has given rise to established players and start-ups offering virtual healthcare services.

Telehealth is making quality healthcare more accessible which has been hampered by severe geographical barriers across years. According to an Inc42 report named ‘India’s eHealth Market Opportunity Report 2021’, India is home to more than 5,295 health tech start-ups and 133 funded e-Health startups In India. The estimated market size of eHealth is expected to touch $10.6 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.6 per cent.

Telehealth is proving to be the cornerstone of the healthcare industry during the ongoing pandemic and it is here to stay. However, for it to be sustainable, telehealth providers must address the issue of fragmentation, quality care deliveryawareness and acceptance.

As digital healthcare gains prominence, service providers also need to address the underlying issues of the elderly and the non-tech savvy population.

Betterment of telehealth accessibility

• Training patients to use digital systems at primary care centres to acquaint them with the technology and eradicate inhibitions about digital tools.
• The major barriers to entry into remote areas are language and infrastructure. Service providers need to address the language barrier and build a better infrastructure of healthcare delivery.
• Using artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as an emotion index feature that can help doctors gauge their patients’ mental state for quicker and more accurate diagnoses.
• Developing algorithms and software that could enable video consultations to function seamlessly even on low bandwidth.
• Maintaining electronic medical records (EMR) and increasing compatibility across devices to shift to a preventive approach towards healthcare.
• The non tech-savvy population does not bother monitoring their health regularly. Wearable devices could prompt them to become more health-conscious.
• Training and equipping regional care providers with wearables and portable tools to facilitate remote doctor-patient consultations for rural residents.
• Encouraging the rural population to register for government health schemes and avail care services.

Telehealth is still in the early stages of development and acceptability in the country. With increasing internet penetration, we also need stable and faster connectivity in India’s remote geographies.

At the current unsaturated state of the healthcare market, more research, innovations and administration’s support can endlessly increase the reach and efficacy of the digital healthcare industry.


Call Us