Scripting a big win for Digital India, the Health Ministry’s ‘eSanjeevani’ telemedicine service recorded 2 lakh teleconsultations and parallelly e-pharmacies in India are witnessing a major growth and funding from big organizations like Reliance Retail.
The success of both teleconsultation and e-pharmacies is making India gleam with joy in showing off its digital capabilities adding impetus to PM Modi’s National Digital Health Mission.
The success of eSanjeevani
Market Analysts say that the teleconsultations related to COVID-19 saw a 200 percent increase between March and May 2020. Digital Healthcare in India has already witnessed tremendous uptake through the AarogyaSetu App.
And the success of the eSanjeevani telemedicine service recording 2 lakh teleconsultations is a milestone that was achieved in a short time period of ten days only since the 9th of August when Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare presided over a meet to commemorate the completion of 1.5 lakh teleconsultations.
The eSanjeevani platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations. The former is being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWC). It aims to implement teleconsultation in all the 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres in conjunction with identified Medical College hospitals in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model.
States have been identified for this and setups have been planned for dedicated ‘Hubs’ in Medical Colleges and District hospitals to provide teleconsultation services to ‘Spokes’, i.e. SHCs, PHCs, and HWCs.
The Health Ministry also rolled out the second teleconsultation service ‘eSanjeevaniOPD’ enabling patient-to-doctor telemedicine owing to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.
The Ministry believes that the platform has proved a boon in containing the spread of COVID while simultaneously enabling provisions for non-COVID essential healthcare.
eSanjeevani has been implemented so far by 23 States and other States are in the process of rolling it out.
The top five states which have been utilizing the e-health services being offered through this platform are Tamil Nadu (56,346 consultations), Uttar Pradesh (33,325), Andhra Pradesh (29,400), Himachal Pradesh (26,535), and Kerala (21,433). Andhra Pradesh leads in having the most HWC-medical college interactions with 25,478 consultations while Tamil Nadu leads in the OPD services with 56,346 consultations.
e-Pharmacy in India at its best
Ever since the pharmacy services through e-commerce was notified by the Home Ministry as essential services during COVID-19, the e-pharmacy companies in India are soaring sky high. MedLife, Netmeds, 1mg, PharmEasy have all made giant leaps in their business.
Sensing that e-pharmacies have the potential to ensure efficient and affordable universal health coverage in India and that it provides an opportunity for a successful business, Amazon India forayed the e-pharma vertical by launching its services in COVID-19 affected city of Bengaluru.
A few days back, as a testimony to the business scope in e-pharma, and being impressed with Netmeds’ journey to build a nationwide digital franchise in a short time, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) subsidiary Reliance Retail Ventures Limited (RRVL) acquired a majority equity stake in ‘Netmeds’ for a cash consideration of approximately INR 620 crores.
It is also now known that domestic e-commerce major, Flipkart, backed by Walmart, is planning its foray into the e-pharma business. Sources say Flipkart is building its own team internally for the e-pharma business and maybe in talks with PharmEasy for a strategic collaboration.