Telenursing - A Potential Resource in the eHealth Agenda of India
In spite of wide-ranging successes that have improved population health, the call of ‘health for all’ across the globe remains significant. In India, making provision for basic healthcare to all people is a difficult task because of its large and diverse geographical terrain, and huge ethnically and culturally diverse population. Telenursing could provide better access to healthcare in communities and ensure a more effective, comprehensive and acceptable relationship of trust within communities. The focus of this paper is on availability and utilization of healthcare service types and health human resources, and factors influencing healthcare seeking behaviour in marginalized communities, and to use these findings to discuss the potential of integrating telenursing into planning as a stimulus for inter-professional and system-wide change. Methods: The availability and utilization of healthcare services through available health systems were explored in urban, rural, slum, and rehabilitated communities through a cross-sectional survey in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, India. Primary data were collected through structured interviews, observation, checklists, and periodic visits, including reasons for preference of a particular care system by consumers and factors affecting their health seeking behaviour. Results and Conclusions: All health systems studied had a limited scope of services. This lack of a suitable range of health services led consumers to seek traditional (unscientific) care for meeting their health needs. Telenursing could stem this trend by improving clinical outcomes for chronic diseases, and thereby safeguard the interests of consumers, reduce costs associated with long-term care or delayed institutionalization, and help prevent the global threat of non-treatable hospital acquired infections.
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