HumanInsight Teleradiology in India during the COVID-19 pandemic: Merits, pitfalls and a Future Perspective
Health Policy Plan. 2022 Jun 14:czac045. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czac045. Online ahead of print.
The field of teleradiology has been of interest for almost 55 years and its potential prospects for health care have been constantly assessed and investigated. In view of the global preventive measures, such as social distancing and hand hygiene, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further accentuated the necessity of telemedicine and teleradiology. In a country as densely populated as India wherein radiologists are often fragmented, teleradiology can prove to be a lifesaving technology and aid dampen the repercussions stemming from the highly skewed doctor to patient ratio. Although innovative, the effective adoption of teleradiology faces several obstacles in India such as inadequate technological infrastructure, a lack of knowledge among most medical practitioners, urban-rural disparities, and a lack of financing. Similar challenges continue to also be faced by several other developing countries across the globe. This article therefore aims to elaborate on the most important facets of implementation of teleradiology observed in the Indian context to help provide salient pointers to the readership of relevant jurisdictions who may be embracing comparable teleradiology challenges. Despite the hurdles, the future of teleradiology seems promising. The respective governments, policymakers and all relevant stakeholders must continue to take decisive action to ensure that this potential is fully exploited by allocation of necessary funds, strengthening of Information Technology and its related units, involvement of human resources with adequate technical and administrative expertise as well as take continued action to better existing telemedicine and teleradiology services.
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