How Tele-ICU Is Changing the Landscape of Critical Care in Rural India?

BY: eNext ICU - 09 Jun-2021

Since the last decade, India's healthcare sector has advanced at a rapid pace. However, there is a great disparity between healthcare delivery in urban and rural areas. Especially in rural regions, there is not only a lack of healthcare infrastructure but also a lack of trained manpower to manage major emergencies and ICUs. 


According to a report, ICU generally accounts for almost 10% of inpatient critical care systems. However, due to the aforementioned scarcity, most people from rural areas were unable to get any treatment.

 

INADEQUATE CRITICAL CARE: CHALLENGE IN INDIA

With a population of over 130 crores, India is the world's second-most populous country. As a result, distributing healthcare services in a sufficient and equitable manner has always been a challenge in India. As per a report, there are only 6.49 doctors available per 10,000 patients in India. Due to this reason, almost 400 critical patients (approximately 240 male and 160 female) out of 1000 lose their lives without getting any proper treatment. 

Furthermore, studies have shown that the healthcare facilities are more concentrated in major cities with 75% of the doctors population, whereas, nearly 86% of all the medical visits in India are made by the rural population with the majority still travelling more than 100 km to avail healthcare facilities. 

According to a report, almost 5.7 million people (adults) require critical care globally. However, due to the prominence of COVID-19, the shortage of ICU has become quite eminent in several countries, including India. 

For instance, there are currently around 7 lac hospital beds available in India. Nonetheless, due to the absence of a proficient ICU infrastructure, many people are not getting proficient treatment at all. 

Moreover, according to a research module, at least 50% of hospital beds should be equipped with Ventilators. However, the percentage of the same is quite minimal in our country. Therefore, only a competent deployment of the Tele ICU infrastructure would be able to prevent such a disaster.

 

The Emergence of Tele-ICU

Nonetheless, with the emergence of Tele ICU systems in recent years, the situation has almost completely altered. For instance, during the years between 2002-2010, the number of hospitals using Tele-ICU increased from 16 to 203.
 
During the same period, almost 11% of non-federal ICU beds were being managed by the same technology as well. As the number of the same has increased massively over the years, now patients in remote areas are able to receive quality critical care from skilled and trained intensivists.

 

eNext ICU – THE PIONEERS OF TELE ICU IN INDIA 

The year 2020, was the year when people realized the importance of health as an entity and healthcare providers as its irreplaceable core. A modern approach with Tele Medicine at its core acts as a valuable solution to provide a good quality of care to the underserved regions of the country.



A Tele ICU is a 24*7 monitoring system through which experienced intensivists and trained critical care nurses can monitor critically ill patients remotely and provide them with the first line of treatment via two-way audio-visual technology; hence, saving the lives of many in the golden hours while utilizing the skills of the already present workforce at the spoke hospital. 

Hence, if it is used in all the 1,055 dedicated COVID hospices in India, then it can definitely halt the continuous progression of the pandemic to some extent. 

eNext ICU has been aiming to change the critical care scenario in the rural regions with its Tele ICU technology, using their extensive experience and innovative mindset. With that aim, the organization was able to deploy Tele ICU in the rural areas of Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh where eNext ICU operated various Govt. & Private Covid ICU beds remotely through a centralized command center.

 

BENEFITS & OUTCOMES OF TELE ICU BY eNext ICU

With the integration of Tele ICUs by eNext ICU in the different areas of the country, many benefits and positive outcomes have been documented.

1) 24*7 availability of the specialized critical care team to manage emergencies.

2) Patients get treated in their peripheral setups, decreasing the overall cost of healthcare to them.

3) We were able to avoid expensive and dangerous transfers to larger cities because the mortality is high during ambulance transportation.

4) Access to the world-class critical care team in their district hospitals.

5) Provides Cost-effective and affordable treatment.

6) This healthcare technology enables physicians to treat more patients within the same hospital manpower.

 

How Has the Implementation Tele ICU Impacted on the Overall Quality of Critical Care? 

eNext ICU have documented its positive clinical outcomes due to Tele ICU: 

1) Around 16,090 Critically ill patients have been seen so far via Tele ICU by the team of eNext ICU, whereas, more than 1,73,772 intensivist rounds and 2,31,696 nursing rounds have been done.

2) Of 16,091 critically ill patients, the mortality of 761 patients were confirmed which shows that the Tele ICU intervention resulted in a substantial reduction in ICU mortality. 

3) Each patient in these ICUs was monitored by specialists via leveraging technology where around 1,51,620 life-threatening alerts were filtered. 

4) Continuous vigilance was provided even during the night hours due to which around 1590 patients were managed in an emergency.

The team of eNext ICU were able to provide critical care training to 1800 doctors and nurses present in different spoke hospitals through Tele ICU technology.

 

CONCLUSION:

Since the previous decade, the landscape of critical care in rural India has been in disrepute. However, with the introduction of the Tele-ICU system, the situation will change soon.

Dr. Sandeep Dewan
Managing Director, eNext ICU
 

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