Digital healthcare is not a recently invented technology. It has been around, in some form, for nearly four decades. The difference is today the technology has matured such that companies can develop viable business models around it. The world’s digital infrastructure is massively more sophisticated today than it was in the past. It serves as the backbone of virtually every industry and is being used to provide old services in new ways. One way it is being used in the field of healthcare is by providing OPDs in e-clinics.
What are E-Clinics? And Why Are They Necessary?
An e-clinic is just like a regular clinic except that in them, patients are examined by doctors remotely on computer screens. The doctor usually is hundreds of kilometres away in a large urban centre while the e-clinic is in a remote region where- if it were not for telemedicine- healthcare services would be inadequate or in some cases absent. Patients treated at e-clinics enjoy the benefit of being handled by specialists that are among the best in the world. Without e-clinics, residents of small towns and cities would find it nearly impossible to be treated by such specialists within the vicinity of their hometown.
The Technology Boom Will Continue Growing
The technology boom we are in the midst of is only starting. The staggering innovation we have seen over the past ten years is nothing compared to what lies ahead. Innovations that have allowed sophisticated AI to run on something as tiny as a smartphone- and other amazing things have transformed the planet. To companies in the healthcare space, today’s technology presents staggering possibilities.
Technologies like high-speed internet, high-definition cameras and incredibly fast microprocessors have made it possible for telemedicine companies to treat patients anywhere in the world. Unlike in the 1970s, when telemedicine was introduced but never became a common place, today e-clinics are gaining widespread acceptance. An important reason for this change is that the masses today are very comfortable using technology in their daily lives. People in remote areas know what a smartphone is. For such people, an examination by a doctor before a video screen is simply an extension of everyday technology.
Because the masses are accustomed to using technology every day, they welcome being treated by doctors online.
The Crucial Point is Telemedicine Works
The technology that makes telemedicine possible is commonplace but what makes e-clinics successful is they work well. Patients like being treated at e-clinics because they have access to the worlds' best physicians right in their hometown who examine them at an affordable price. Study after study has confirmed that OPDs at e-clinics cost half of what they cost in regular clinics. While this is good news for players in the telemedicine industry, it gets even better. Treatment outcomes at e-clinics are considerably superior to those at brick and mortar clinics. So, patients treated at e-clinics pay less for better medical treatment.
Building Global Telemedicine Companies
There has been no better time to build global telemedicine companies and-no better time will come in the future. The technology that makes telemedicine possible has already arrived. It will get even better in the future but can already meet every demand of the telemedicine industry. Hence, players in the telemedicine industry are in a sweet-spot- they have entered the industry at the right time. Existing players will grow as the industry grows faster, which it is sure to.
An important reason the industry will grow is that the vast majority of people in the third-world have little or no access to quality healthcare. This is a huge market that can only be served by telemedicine players. In much of South East Asia, the Middle East, North and Sub Saharan Africa, and parts of Central and South America there is an acute shortage of good doctors. Over the next few decades, by serving some of these markets, players in the telemedicine industry can grow significantly.
Authored By: Mr Ayush Mishra Co-Founder & CEO, Tattvan E Clinic