Dr Jay Kothari, Apollo Hospitals, Health News, ET HealthWorld

We need to invest our strategies in the development of home healthcare: Dr Jay Kothari, Apollo HospitalsShahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Dr Jay Kothari, Director & Sr. Consultant, Critical Care Dept., Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad, to know more about the challenges and scope of patient management via home healthcare and remote monitoring.

How do you see the shift in patient management during the pandemic ?
Although we faced a lot of challenges and difficulties with this pandemic, definitely pandemic has made us learn a lot of things also and home healthcare is one of them. Any pandemic and disaster is significantly challenging to mankind and it imposes significant issues to the available healthcare resources. It is beyond the scope of any healthcare setup and facility to match the needs and demand during such kind of disasters that we realised during this pandemic.

What we understood out of this is, home healthcare and telemedicine or tele consultation is the answer to such unmatched needs and demands of the healthcare resources that is required at times. And up till now there was a significant unawareness, up till now there was significant unrealised scope of this services by all the parties involved: patients, healthcare physicians, healthcare providers, government and the institutes. They realised the scope, but not to this extent that how best home healthcare and telemedicine would help us cope up with the difficulties within the pandemic or with any of such new disaster which we may face in the future.

Home healthcare up till now has remained in infancy. It was not well organised. It was rather a neglected segment of healthcare services and the pandemic has taught all of us that we really need to develop and invest our strategies, our funds, our intelligence on developing this segment and we need to create awareness among the consumers, within the healthcare physicians, within the organisation institutes and healthcare providers to adopt to this new tool which is available in the management of patients.

How do you see the future of home healthcare ?
So, in future, home healthcare and telemedicine is going to be a substantial part of healthcare access to even most remotely placed patients and to many of the patients with the higher specialist doctors across the country, across the towns. The other significant change that I could see is that lot of investment players and lot of companies have tried to organise the structure with more lawful things, with more legislative and meaningful adaptation to the new rules. Even government has created rules and drafted the policy, how healthcare can be delivered, what are the duties and function of healthcare provider, what are the duties and function of physicians and how should a patient behave with the home care what they should expect out of the medical system when they are consulting telemedicine and when they are seeking the help from healthcare.

How has remote monitoring really empowered the healthcare community ?

So, remote or self-monitoring and tele-health or telemedicine service has significantly improvised the connect between the healthcare provider or physician and the patient and it is significantly convenient, it reduces the travel time, it reduces the cost too. Moreover, there are patients who are fragile, there are patients who cannot travel, there are significant delays while they visit the doctor. All this can be addressed significantly by the remote monitoring and the telemedicine services. There are now devices, which are available through which patient can be monitored, an ECG can be taken or saturation pulse oximeter can be given to the patient and such kind of information is laid back to the healthcare physician either real time or it is stored and then analytics can be done. So, it has created a significant database also through which the research and other study purpose can also be taken care of. There are possible critical events that can be diagnosed or that can be identified, even while patient is at home and that would enhance the security and safety outcome of the patient.

The other major improvement is the software-based analytics for research and software-based analytics to identify the events during the particular patient care, which also would help enhancing the care by the healthcare community. So, in nutshell, healthcare community is getting lot of information. They can do analytics on this information and they can provide a real time solution depending upon this information available to them.

How has telemedicine helped in the improvement of patient care?
Telemedicine is creating significant improvement for the patient also. From remote places they can consult the doctor. For the remote physician he can seek the expert opinion and we can have a larger pool of data for future research analytics and future evolution of guidelines that this intervention might help the mankind in much more meaningful manner. So, that is how telemedicine has improvised the situation for patients, healthcare providers and the policy makers.

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