TELERADIOLOGY IN COVID-19

The start of coronavirus pandemic pushed limits of healthcare systems all over the world by causing thousands of deaths and the requirement of a huge quantity of healthcare resources. When WHO declared COVID19 as a pandemic, the whole world came to standstill. Half of the world population is confined to their home except for essential services. 

In the year 2016, when GOI announced demonetization, maximum Indians witnessed an overnight shift from conventional banking to internet banking and digital payments. Similarly, Indians witnessed a massive shift in healthcare services from conventional practice to telemedicine or e-health. Almost, within few days, telemedicine became a lifesaver for healthcare professionals and patients.

Overcoming the flaws and fear to accept telemedicine the entire medical fraternity and government approved the set guidelines and implemented the system. The massive collaboration between IT companies, med-tech companies, startups, and healthcare organizations from both public and private sectors, helped to implement telemedicine within shortest span of time. Now, the patients under home-quarantine, individuals experiencing symptoms like Covid19, patients in rural and distant areas can contact doctors to avoid further complications. Similarly, doctors can cater maximum number of patients by prioritizing critical and non-emergency services and most importantly through least exposure to the deadly virus.

Telemedicine has also helped the government and healthcare organizations to collect huge data for analysis and research. With this data they can mark the areas of high-risk and low risk, can predict real-time no. of cases and requirement for mass-testing in any geographical location. Not only consultations, but, online appointment booking, patient management systems, digital pathology or telepathology, teleradiology, online pharmacies, consultation in alternative medicine, telemedicine caters to a wide range of healthcare needs of the young and the old, in cities and villages, saving time and money and most importantly lives of patients and healthcare providers.

Future of telemedicine and maximum utilization:

Hoping these sudden developments, investments and acceptance of telemedicine continue post coronavirus pandemic. Telemedicine will continue to benefit patients who are suffering from chronic diseases, the elderly population, post-surgical follow-ups, alternative medicine, preventive healthcare campaigns in rural India. Wide range of medical specialities and super-specialities, like, nuclear medicine, robotic surgeries, dermatological conditions, early diagnosis, and prevention for avoidable onco-conditions, etc., will largely benefit with the use of telemedicine. 

Telemedicine is not restricted to teleconsultations only. Many start-ups and med-tech companies are carrying massive research in the fields of telepathology/digital pathology and teleradiology. 

Teleradiology:

Teleradiology is a branch of telemedicine in which telecommunication systems are used to transmit radiological images from one location to another. Interpretation of all non-invasive imaging studies, such as digitized x-rays, CT, MRI, ultrasound, and nuclear medicine studies, can be carried out in such a manner. Images are acquired, digitized, stored, and transferred to remotely based radiologists for interpretation.

Though there is availability of diagnostic radiological services like x-rays and CT scan in many district hospitals, however, there is major unavailability of radiologists. Coronavirus pandemic forced the healthcare providers to utilize their resources and teleradiology has proved to be a boon for same. Radiologists need not to be present in hospital, clinic, or diagnostic center, ultimately reducing their risk of exposure to virus.

Benefits of Teleradiology:

  • Faster TAT
  • Cost and time saving
  • Services can be offered to rural locations
  • Reduced exposure of radiologists to contamination
  • Archiving and rapid access to previous cases
  • Huge data storage for long term predictive analysis
  • Use of data for preventive healthcare

This platform will be accessible to patients, their treating physicians, attached hospital or clinics, and diagnostic imaging centre if any and assigned qualified radiologists. The main aim of Clustr will be reaching out the population in rural areas, people in lockdown and home quarantine and reducing the TAT without any compromise on quality and promptness with the availability of radiologists round the clock.

Aindra Systems is based in Bangalore, providing telepathology and teleradiology solutions PAN India. It doesn’t matter if you are located in remote rural areas, please reach out to us on www.aindra.in or drop a mail with your requirements on contactus@aindra.in for further details and collaboration.

Blog by: Deepa Dharmadhikari (Regional Sales Manager)

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