Budget 2021 and Digital Health

Digital Health

In the 2021 budget, healthcare has been the key focus area. With an increase of 137%, the amount earmarked for healthcare for 2021 is Rs 2,23,846 crore. Specifically, the government wants to strengthen its focus on ‘preventive health, curative health and overall wellbeing’ for all the citizens of this country. 


The 2021 budget has given an enormous boost to the initiatives of m16 Labs. From our inception, we have worked on making healthcare more accessible in Tier II and Tier III cities. And in the process, we have worked to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality in care provision.


Since our technology integrates all aspects of care provision, it enables reduction in healthcare costs through avoiding the duplication of efforts in care facilities. On the other hand, it improves care quality for patient through enabling coordination among providers, and by making information accessible to patients across the care continuum. The use case of a PHC in Karnataka is a testimony to how our solutions can make care accessible to the last mile, while improving quality and reducing costs. 


Use Case: A PHC in Karnataka   

Dr. Sathish Pai, Consultant Dermatologist at a super speciality hospital and, Mr. Harish, Chief Pharmacist at a Primary Health Care Centre decided to provide free teleconsultations using WhatsApp for the villagers in a remote region of Shimoga District in Karnataka. 


Due to the lack of hospitals in the area, the villagers would have to travel a long way to consult a specialist doctor in the city. Initially, Mr. Harish collected the patient data, such as the patient name, previous history, symptoms, and pictures of the affected area. Then, he sent them to Dr. Sathish via WhatsApp. After a thorough analysis of the pictures and symptoms of the patient, he established a diagnosis and sends across the prescription, only if the ailment is treatable through teleconsultation or else the patient is asked to either consult him in-person or is suggested to see a doctor nearby in their area. 


The process was strenuous and required to keep multiple documents on a day-to-day basis like patient details, diagnosis, and physical consent forms which the Government has made mandatory for the patient to sign to show they are willing to receive teleconsultation.


With Primary Health Care Centres now providing easy accessibility to super speciality services, patients suffering from diseases need not travel to hospitals in the city to seek treatment instead can stop by the PHC and obtain quality treatment free of cost and once cured can resume their day-to-day work without causing a hindrance to their survival. Given the current situation, it won’t be wrong to say that telemedicine has indeed augmented health care delivery in India especially in such trying times.