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New Delhi : Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on August 9, 2020, presided over a review meeting with States/UTs on the “eSanjeevani” and “eSanjeevaniOPD” platforms as 1.5 lakh tele-consultations were completed on the tele-medicine service platforms of the Health Ministry.  Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, was also present. Dr C.Vijaya Baskar, Health Minister of Tamil Nadu, joined virtually.

In a short span of time since November 2019, tele-consultation by eSanjeevani and eSanjeevaniOPD have been implemented by 23 States (which covers 75% of the population) and other States are in the process of rolling it out. In a landmark achievement, the national telemedicine service has completed more than 1,50,000 tele-consultations enabling patient to doctor consultations from the confines of their home, as well as doctor to doctor consultations,according to a PIB release.

Expressing appreciation for this accomplishment, Dr Vardhan said, “ Under the guidance of PM Narendra Modi, we have started implementing the vision of Digital India through broadband and mobile phones at the Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres. With the cooperation of States and UTs, and a pool of selfless and talented medical practitioners and specialists, we have been able to provide healthcare services through tele-medicine platform such as eSanjeevani. This has substantially augmented our health infrastructure during the COVID pandemic.”

Echoing similar sentiments, Choubey remarked, “ It would be gamechanger for people in the rural areas who do not have easy access to medical specialists located in cities”.

This eSanjeevani platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations. The former is being implemented under the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme. It is planned to implement tele-consultation at all the 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres (as spokes) in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model by December 2022.

States have identified and set up dedicated ‘Hubs’ in Medical Colleges and District hospitals to provide tele-consultation services to ‘Spokes’, i.e SHCs and PHCs. As on date, 12,000 users comprising Community Health Officers and Doctors have been trained to make use of this national e-platform. At present, telemedicine is being provided through more than 3,000 HWCs in 10 States.

Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Ministry launched the second tele-consultation service enabling patient-to-doctor telemedicine through ‘eSanjeevaniOPD’. Offered at no cost, this e-health service is rapidly gaining popularity as citizens in around 20 States are now consulting doctors without having to go to the hospital physically. Around 2,800 doctors have been trained and on-boarded at eSanjeevaniOPD and every day around 250 doctors and specialists across the country provide eHealth services.

The top ten States, which have registered highest consultations through eSanjeevani and eSanjeevaniOPD platforms, are : Tamil Nadu (32,035 consultations), Andhra Pradesh (28,960), Himachal Pradesh (24,527), Uttar Pradesh (20,030), Kerala (15,988), followed by Gujarat (7,127), Punjab (4,450), Rajasthan (3548), Maharashtra (3,284), and Uttarakhand (2,596).

The majority share in the doctor-to-doctor eSanjeevani consultations at AB-HWCs has been of Andhra Pradesh (25,478) and Himachal Pradesh (23,857) while Tamil Nadu leads in the patient-to-doctor eSanjeevaniOPD services with 32,035 consultations.