Smartphone doctors can fill India's healthcare gap

Will new mobile tools replace traditional doctor visits, or reach out to those who don't have readily available medical facilities?
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor on

There are gadgets that can connect to smartphones and give users, or patients, information regarding blood pressure and heartbeat rate, as well as chart lung infections, and even sonograms. There are even additional devices which allow patients to take pictures of both their ears and behind their eyes, according to TechGig.com.

While not meant to replace doctors and specialists in their fields, these devices and supporting apps are simply designed for people to measure and monitor their own health. That is, enabling them to take preventative measures and be proactive in their health and wellbeing.

These additional devices can cost between 5,424 rupees (US$100) and 10,849 rupees (US$200), which may seem expensive at first. However, these devices can play a role in developing nations where access to medical equipment is not readily available and there already is strong penetration of smartphones.

In countries such as India, there is no universal healthcare coverage likie there is in developed countries. Furthermore, finding the right doctor and specialist not only takes time, it can be hard to locate as patients have to go to great lengths to find them, especially those living in rural and underdeveloped India.

Furthermore, the cost of all healthcare services and procedures, be it a simple blood test, CAT scan, MRI, or operation of any sort, must be paid for in full, and in advance. Because of this restriction, many people who require healthcare services in India go untreated and suffer in silence, as there are no government subsidies of any kind they can depend on.

Critics have said the public sector has failed the Indian population for not providing readily available healthcare coverage. This is where private sector can come in and both make a difference, and profit. The ideal situation would be one where developers partner both private and public hospitals to provide a service-on-demand in this field, with the supporting apps and devices as required.

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