The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the critical need for cutting-edge technological tools and innovation in the areas of public health, medicine and wellness. It has reopened the realm of ‘digital health’ in the policy and public discourse, with consumers increasingly looking at the wide canvas of wearable gadgets, mobile health apps and artificial intelligence as well as robotic carriers, sensors and electronic records.
It is in this regard that the Punjab government has recently undertaken a citizen-centric initiative to ensure uninterrupted health services to the public in Punjab due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Punjab has launched e-Sanjeevani– an online OPD (Doctor-to-Patient), integrated telemedicine solutions developed by C-DAC Mohali. It extends the reach of specialized healthcare services to the masses in both rural areas and any other isolated community pockets. It provides a platform for citizens to connect with a network of specialist doctors over video conferencing and obtain medical treatments and advice for common health related concerns while sitting at home . Other features of e-Sanjeevani are –
• Patient registration
• Token generation
• Queue management
• Audio-video consultation with a Doctor
• SMS/Email notifications
• Serviced by state’s Doctors (From the Department of Health and Family Welfare)
• Totally free service
• Fully configurable (number of daily slots, number of doctors/clinics, waiting room slots, consultation time limits etc.)
Taking a cue from this, the Government of Himachal Pradesh, too, is providing free online medical consultation to sick people through the e-Sanjeevani-OPD.
In August 2019, C-DAC’s ‘e-Sanjeevani’ app was shortlisted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for supporting tele-medicine rollout across India under Ayushman Bharat . The Government of India is committed to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and through its Ayushman Bharat Scheme, India is on her way to achieve UHC by reducing inequalities in access to in-patient care, reducing the incidence of catastrophic health expenditures, and improving access and quality of health services in the public and private sectors. In a short period of time, under the Ayushman Bharat scheme, more than 21,000 Health and Wellness Centres have become operational and in the first year since its launch, about 4.7 million (47 lakh) people have availed treatments under its Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) pillar which provides health assurance cover to the most needy people of the country.