Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022
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App-Based Medical Services: How Safe Are They? More Concerns Than Solutions

Medical experts advise that regulation is the need of the hour to prevent quacks from infiltrating a vulnerable business and stop unethical practices

App-Based Medical Services: How Safe Are They? More Concerns Than Solutions Photograph by Getty Images

How about looking for a doctor like you search for a cab on mobile applications like Ola and Uber? Doesn’t it sound great? Imagine. It’s 2 in the morning and someone in your family needs urgent medical care. It could be a massive cardiac arrest or breathing trouble or high fever or something else that might be life-threatening. Instead of calling an ambulance, you open an app on your smartphone, pay the fee and get connected to a general physician or a cardiologist or some other specialist for a video chat. The app randomly picks up a doctor of the particular speciality based on your preference. The doctor not only advises you on steps for first aid, which is crucial in the initial moments, but also tells you whether you need to call an ambulance for emergency admission.

It looks like a win-win situation for both the patient and the doctor. It is quick, convenient and affordable as it saves you the money you would have spent on taking the patient to a clinic for consultation. Besides, the app also digitally records the medical history of the patient, which could be useful later. These benefits are making ­e-clinics popular business ventures in India. Around a dozen companies, ­including M-fine, Practo, Shifa Care, Aayu, 1mg, DocsApp, Doxtro, Doctor Insta and Lybrate have been running mobile apps that can ­connect a ­patient to a doctor who ­provides ­medical counselling and treatment through video chat.

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