Dr Smartphone In The Era Of Remote Consultation


Healthcare of modern times is witnessing a revolution. This radical reform is prompted by the transformational changes being brought about by the leveraging of modern digital technologies. Every day, scores of lives are getting saved and quality-of-life is being enhanced for patients through innovative use of technology, particularly smart phones.

For example, Sonal  Phadke, an Aurangabad-based patient recently underwent surgery in a Pune hospital. After the surgery, she had to visit the hospital regularly for post-operative care and check-up sessions. She often needed to be referred from one facility to another for treatment and also had to keep doctors informed about her day-to-day health developments. However, today, she is able to receive remote consultation from doctors based in Pune, from the comfort and convenience of her home in the village.

How do remote consultations work?

It all takes place through a smartphone. Doctors can connect with patients remotely as well as provide consultation through high-quality video service. The facility enables monitoring of vital parameters, history as well as profile of the patients. Data is stored and then transmitted to healthcare providers that can monitor and respond appropriately. Consequently, Sonal’s quality of life has witnessed drastic improvements.

“Ruby Hall Clinic receives patients from remote parts of India. It was observed that after surgery, patients visited the hospital for follow-up checks and had to travel, which can be avoided if there is a way to connect a physician with a patient online. We are happy to notice the results of our innovation,” says Anand Patil, General Manager IT, Ruby Hall Clinic.

Using the eConsult service and EMR, an appointment is fixed between the doctor and a patient.  A link is sent on the mobile phone of both the doctor and the patient. The physician connects with a patient in a secure environment and is able to provide consultation. Consultation details are documented for future references. The historical data of a patient is previously available to a doctor in the EMR system, which helps and guides him during consultations.

“eConsult is a robust configurable system. A number of configurations were carried out to enable a team of doctors to facilitate remote consultations. eConsult schedules were generated for remote patients and the project team carried out trial consultations before taking the system live. The eConsult solution is secure and hipaa compliant. The consultation happens between a patient and a physician over a secure https layer,” says the Ruby Hall official.  

Maintaining confidentiality of communication between doctors and patients

The smart phone innovation facilitates direct and double encrypted conversations between the doctors and patients, ruling out confidentiality concerns.

“Confidentiality will have to be an essential component of any such communication, as the trust between patients and doctors is of utmost importance and it can break down. This can lead to miscommunication or no communication at all. That is why all such innovations need to have top notch data security,” says Shashank Dixit, CEO, Deskera, a global cloud software company.

The hospital is currently running the service on a pilot basis. However, looking at wondrous response and its usefulness, it is planning to maximize use of service and put in place a complete telemedicine solution. No wonder, the project has been able to gained publicity and popularity among healthcare providers.