India’s telemedicine market has the potential to more than double to $32 million by 2020, a new study from the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) reveals.
The study, entitled ‘Promoting Rural Healthcare: Role of telemedicine,’ highlighted the extent of growth and development of rural healthcare in India.
From 2005 to 2009, it said the number of sub-centers across the country has increased by about 6,300 while the number of primary health centers (PHCs) has increased by about 1,800. Over 2,000 new community health centers (CHCs) have also been added.
“There is a shortage of about 32% in terms of the number of CHCs in India at present while there is 23% shortage of PHCs in the country,” the study noted.
Jharkhand (66%), West Bengal (58%) and Madhya Pradesh (42%) face maximum shortage in PHCs while Bihar (91%), Andhra Pradesh (united) and Karnataka (41%) are facing highest shortfall in terms of required number of CHCs.
“With limited resources and much of population living in remote, rural areas (68%), telemedicine has the potential to revolutionize delivery of healthcare in India,” said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM during the release of the study.
“Providing quality healthcare to a large segment of population which does not have access to speciality physicians because of factors like geographic limitations or socio-economic conditions is the greatest challenge faced by the healthcare sector in India,” he added.
Improved access to specialists, increased patient satisfaction with care, improved clinical outcomes, reduction in emergency room utilisation, cost savings are certain key benefits of telemedicine.