"Retail Teleclinics"-A Low Cost Scalable Healthcare Delivery Model for Rural India

  • K Vijaya Shekar Reddy Nightingale Hospital, Hyderabad
  • K Lalitha Reddy Nightingale Hospital Hyderabad
Keywords: Telemedicine, Telehealth, eHealth

Abstract

Rural India has an acute shortage of doctors whereas urban India is over supplied. Many medical graduates are reluctant to serve in rural areas due to poor civic structures. By adopting technology we planned to strike a balance in this disparity. Our project AWISH is a social enterprise. AWISH in Sanskrit means “to reach” which denotes the mission motto-providing medical consultations in rural areas by utilising telemedicine. We have evolved an efficient, cost-effective, sustainable, scalable healthcare delivery model after pilot project, “AWISH retail teleclinics”. We have identified, recruited and trained the pharmacy owners in rural areas who provide a 4ftx4ft space in their pharmacy for a teleclinic facility. The Teleclinic is equipped with a computer, LED TV, printer, broadband Internet, pulseoxymeter, glucometer, digital thermometer and BP apparatus. Special videoconferencing software which works on 256KBPS bandwidth is provided. The pharmacist is trained to use the equipment and the approximate cost to the pharmacist for the equipment is around US$1,000. Free consultations are provided for three months and the telemedicine GP runs free medical camps weekly for three months. This familiarises the doctor with the patients, and also increased pharmacy revenue. Medical consultations were provided by our parent institute-Nightingale Multi-specialty Hospital where a dedicated telemedicine wing has been setup. For all patients general consultations are provided. Specialist consultations are provided when required. Currently we are operating 10 Teleclinics and planning to scale up to 100 in a year. All the pharmacy owners have recovered their investment. Present average footfalls are 20 per day in each centre. Our audit results on the project’s social and financial impact are promising. For a developing country with poor primary healthcare in rural areas the only resort is dependency on quacks which many a times proves to be problematic to the uneducated population. Our model has proved to be an economical and effective solution.


Author Biography

K Vijaya Shekar Reddy, Nightingale Hospital, Hyderabad

Director

Nightingale Hospital

Hyderabad

India

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Published
2017-04-03
How to Cite
Reddy, K. V. S., & Reddy, K. L. (2017). "Retail Teleclinics"-A Low Cost Scalable Healthcare Delivery Model for Rural India. Journal of the International Society for Telemedicine and EHealth, 5, (GKR);e41:(1-4). Retrieved from https://journals.ukzn.ac.za/index.php/JISfTeH/article/view/216
Section
Global Telemedicine and eHealth Updates. Knowledge Resources. Vol. 10, 2017