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PM WANI and Virtual Healthcare

In this article we will look at the situation of healthcare in rural India, the limitations and how technology can solve a large part of the problem with healthcare in rural India.

Healthcare in Rural India

Quality healthcare is lacking throughout rural India. Lack of access to emergency services & general healthcare wards, inability to remotely, & correctly diagnose health problems and issues pertaining to follow-up visits have kept rural India from achieving global healthcare standards.

This has resulted in higher mortality rates, risk of aggravating harmless diseases into potentially life-threatening ones, and increased risk of early death.

The healthcare structure in rural India is a three-tiered system consisting of sub-centers, Primary Health Centres, and Community Health centers. They were set up under the National Rural Health Mission. Each point of contact is based on the population norms as given by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

All data sourced from [1].

However, has this model succeeded in giving rural India the healthcare it needs is the question we will try to answer today.

The data suggests that 86% of rural India still travels to cities to avail quality healthcare facilities 1. Ruralites, most of them from low-income societies, often lose a large chunk of money just through travel expenses alone.

Rural India’s three tier healthcare structure is inadequate to satisfy the healthcare requirements of the hinterland. Apart from having to travel for availing medical consultation, even procurement of medicines is a huge hassle.

WiFi and Healthcare

Telemedicine is looking as the potential solution for solving problems associated with rural healthcare. Telemedicine can help patients interact with doctors on video calls for general checkups.

Usually, after the first medical diagnosis, the patient is not always required to visit the hospital or the clinic. The patient can speak over a video call with the doctor where the patient can inform the doctor of updates regarding their health. Community healthcare workers are trained to take vitals to ensure that the patient is in good health and can communicate the results to the doctor.

While this approach to rural healthcare can help us save lives, reduce the monetary burden on ruralites and improve the quality of life, there is a major limitation which is stopping us from achieving these goals.

The Limitation? There’s no internet.

Broadband penetration in India stands at just 29%.

4G connectivity across India shows a higher presence only in urban areas. In the hinterland, connectivity is unstable and often works on Edge or 3G. Edge and 3G are not fast enough to ensure seamless connected experiences which are fundamental to enable telemedicine.

So, what is the solution?

WiFi is the way to disseminate fast, seamless internet to hundreds of people at a time, through a single point of connection.

If there is Public WiFi hotspots set up in rural areas, it can enable the rural populace to interact with healthcare workers and doctors to work on resolving health related issues easily. It can also help doctors and patients to keep track of their health on a regular basis, without the hassle of having to travel long distances.

Each Sub Centre, Primary Health Centre and Community Health Centre should be equipped with top-notch internet connectivity which allows patients to seamlessly connect with their doctors working in urban areas. Since these centres are always manned by at least one healthcare worker, the healthcare worker can take the vitals of the patient and deliver an online report to the doctor.

The Indian government’s push to implement widespread WiFi hotspot service under the PM WANI initiative can really help us revolutionise rural healthcare and improve the quality of life for the people there.

This approach can save both time and money, more so for the patient where both of those factors need to be perfectly balanced in order to get through the month without problems.

As a value added service, the public wifi hotspots deployed can also work as a guest wireless access service. The guest wireless access service can be utilised to provide WiFi range to people waiting with the patients. If in case the wifi provider wants to monetize the service, Indio Monetization Solution can help them monetize the wifi service. Indio Monetization solution allows providers to deploy a tiered billing structure for monetizing the wifi service.

WiFi hotspot service has the potential to penetrate and provide last-mile connectivity to every corner of the country. From healthcare, MSMEs, local retailers to normal every day individuals on their way to work, all entities are eligible to gain from accessible and reliable Public WiFi hotspots.

At Indio, we have worked in the wireless space for over 16 years. We have personally been the part of Public WiFi initiatives all across India and the world.

With more than 50+ large scale Public WiFi deployments in developing countries like India, Bangladesh and many more in the African continent, we are simplifying connectivity for people and we can drive India’s push towards improving healthcare through our solutions.

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