About EHealth Technology
The use of telecommunications technology to provide, enhance, or expedite health care services, as by accessing off-site databases, linking clinics or physicians' offices to central hospitals, or transmitting x-rays or other diagnostic images for examination at another site.
E health however is a much more encompassing term which has been defined by WHO as :
“The delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities ”
Telemedicine was initially conceived to provide healthcare to space travelers, thereafter extending health care facilities for the geographically hard-to-reach and the undeserved. With time, Telemedicine is becoming more widespread, less costly, and new applications are emerging. Over the last decade the technology has moved from expensive room-sized systems to the desktop personal computer, now extending to the Internet as well.
India, which has a large population (>1200 Million) has vastly varied terrains from Deserts, Coastal regions, Tropical Jungles, Islands and Mountains. Roads and physical reach are a problem in many areas. 72,2% of our population is rural who are supplied by less than 30% of medical professionals. Worse if one is searching for specialized medical care the Ratio is less than 4% in Rural areas. While healthcare is the responsibility of the state, the actual provision by the state is less than 30% of the needs. The reasons for these are varied but a large extent are related to the lack of actual facilities even when promised e.g. doctors may not be present or may, rightly, refuse to take care stating that it is beyond their scope.
Most doctors are not willing to work in rural areas. Besides a lack of adequate facilities, to satisfactorily practice to the level of training imparted to them, there is also a deficiency of general facilities like good schools for their children or proper social and entertainment facilities for them to maintain the standard living which they are used too.
On an average, 50 - 60% of healthcare needs are met by simple consultations and following general health practices or taking medicines. While actual Healthcare expenditure in India constitutes is 5.2% of the GDP (compared with 2.7% in China) it is widely believed that can go up to 15% of the budget of most families. In rural areas, much of the expenditure is wasted on the transportation to the nearest healthcare facility.
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- What is EHealth
- Training Health Workers