Telemedicine: A digital platform for Covid-19 care

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Published: June 25, 2020 2:00 AM

Besides free consultations, Swasth platform will provide home quarantine assistance, diagnostics, pharmacies and more

“Swasth has brought together the best of resources in the country to provide free healthcare to bring quick relief during the crisis,” says Kris Gopalakrishnan, a part of the Swasth Governing Council.“Swasth has brought together the best of resources in the country to provide free healthcare to bring quick relief during the crisis,” says Kris Gopalakrishnan, a part of the Swasth Governing Council.

A coalition of over 100 healthcare specialists have come together to launch Swasth, a nationwide telemedicine platform for Corona care, which digitally connects citizens to the best doctors and wellness providers. The mobile app-based service leverages India’s technology prowess to deliver equal and affordable healthcare to 1.3 billion people, cutting across geographical and income divides.

This indigenous digital healthcare system is being launched at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has challenged traditional service providers.

“Swasth has brought together the best of resources in the country to provide free healthcare to bring quick relief during the crisis,” says Kris Gopalakrishnan, a part of the Swasth Governing Council. “It will work to further public health goals and work in coordination with the Medical Council, public health organisations, and the private sector to expand quality healthcare access to the masses. I firmly believe that this crisis is a great opportunity to re-invent healthcare delivery in India.”

Swasth facilitates seamless, remote interaction between registered medical practitioners and patients through multiple modes of video and telephony. It deploys AI based triaging to determine the care required, culminating in a digitally signed prescription and treatment advice. Along with the free consultations, Swasth will also provide services like home quarantine assistance, diagnostics, pharmacies, hospital bed discovery and booking assistance at a subsidised cost.

All doctors on the Swasth platform are duly verified and undergo specially designed training programmes on tele-consultation and Covid-19 clinical protocols. Swasth is in full compliance with the industry-accepted cybersecurity norms for healthcare platforms. It uses a defense-in-depth approach to ensure that data is securely transmitted, stored, managed and accessed. Currently, the app supports consultation in Hindi, English and Gujarati and will be expanded to 25 Indian languages.

NK Jairam, a key member of the project team, said, “As we move on with the current Corona pandemic and with social distancing being one of the key remedies to eradicate it, telemedicine is going to be an integral part of the healthcare system. Tele-consultation has been offered by doctors since the early 2000s, however, it has gained rapid momentum because of the current situation. With Swasth, telemedicine will gain a boost which will empower patients to make quick decisions and also teach them self-care.”

Swasth is created by a not-for-profit consortium of different players across healthcare providers, telehealth platforms, entrepreneurs, technology experts and doctors. It received a grant of Rs 10 crore ($1.3 million) from the ACT Grants, an umbrella platform of entrepreneurs and investors backing start-ups fighting the pandemic.

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