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Health & Wellness

The great telemedicine takeoff in Covid times

With Covid-19 cases witnessing a massive spike in India, virtual consultations are the ‘new norm’ brought in to prevent overcrowding at hospitals and maintain social distancing. Is it a reliable, healthy option?



Telemedicine is a nontraditional way of providing healthcare services through the use of digital tools, contrary to inperson interaction. It has been a developing area in India for a few years now, but with coronavirus it became imperative to adapt to the new norm of digital healthcare.

“Last month I got a fever and panicked because of Covid-19 and how rapidly it is spreading. My concern was genuine. Our family doctor was unavailable and visiting a doctor in a hospital seemed dreadful. I was scared for my health and consulted a general physician on Lybrate. He took note of my symptoms and suggested medicines via e-prescription,” shares Praveen Kumar, a Delhi-based resident.

Like him, telemedicine has the potential to provide and increase access to medical care for millions of Indians to increase convenience for patients. Manasije Mishra, MD, DocOnline, believes that the emergence of telemedicine has made quality primary healthcare accessible in India. Mishra says, “We pay utmost attention to clinical quality with technology as an enabler. With specialised doctor training, evidence-based clinical tools for remote diagnosis and treatment, the doctors ensure that treatment benefits the patient.”

The pandemic has changed the way healthcare is functioning today, especially in India where the healthcare system’s vulnerabilities have been thoroughly exposed and many hospitals have become corona hotspots with a large number of doctors and patients contracting the infection. In such a scenario, telemedicine is an ideal option as it eliminates the risk of viral transmission from one person to another.

Dr K.K. Aggarwal, president CMAAO and HCFI, says, “It can also improve the overall patient satisfaction besides reducing healthcare costs and curbing cramming up the hospitals, all of this makes telemedicine a viable option for both patients and doctors going forward. It is time we utilise medical technology to our benefit, especially during the Coronavirus crisis.”

Telemedicine can also address healthcare inequalities by expanding its reach to districts, towns and villages of India. As per experts, telemedicine can help avoid non-emergency hospital visits by over 70%.

“India has a ratio of 0.7 doctors and 1.5 nurses per 1,000 people compared to the WHO’s ideal average of 2.5 doctors and nurses per 1,000 people and the scenario for a specialist is even worse,” says Satish Kannan, co-founder & CEO, MediBuddy-DocsApp. Given the fact that the geographical distribution of these doctors is skewed, with the help of technology, telemedicine apps ensure that anyone can access specialists from their fingertips thus making high-quality healthcare accessible to everyone.

 The added benefits include driving up efficacy for patients by providing them with more options and care and increased revenue for the healthcare industry. When asked about how telemedicine consultation is turning out to as a major step towards changing the paradigm of India’s healthcare industry, Dr Inder Maurya, Emergency Medicine and Critical care, CEO and founder of Foreign OPD, says, “With Covid-19, the Indian healthcare industry is in dire need of many business and systemic disruptions. The Medtech industry has to, therefore, rise to the fore and telemedicine is just a part of that giant ecosystem. Having said that, telemedicine consultation did see a surge and the long-pending telemedicine guidelines were issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).”

 The government is recognising the value of telemedicine in tackling the pandemic and beyond. To further amplify Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to leverage telemedicine as a national priority, ‘Swasth’ was launched to deliver equal and affordable healthcare to all, cutting across geographical and income divides. “Telemedicine can give immediate consultations to patients which is the need of the hour owing to the scare of the pandemic. Let us not forget that Indians are the quickest to adapt to technology,” emphasises Dhruv Suyamprakasam, spokesperson of Swasth.

Digital primary healthcare is an excellent solution to tackle poor doctor to patient ratio and lack of robust primary healthcare infrastructure in India. Hence, the government has partnered with private players/NGOs to offer telemedicine services in many states. The government telemedicine initiatives have brought quality healthcare within the reach of people living in rural India. The revised telemedicine guidelines, increasing Covid-19 cases and recommendation from leaders to utilise telemedicine have resulted in a substantial increase in awareness and teleconsultations from urban India.

“Consequentially, hospitals are starting telemedicine services and insurance companies are evaluating to offer telemedicine benefits to their customers. While these initiatives will grow awareness, the acceptance for telemedicine will grow only with a balanced focus on technology and clinical excellence,” stresses Mishra.

Talking about the three tiers of personnel involved in a teleconsultant set up, Dr Pravin Krishna Vaddavalli, Head, Refractive Surgery, Cataract and Contact Lens Services and Consultant, Cornea & Anterior Segment Service, LV Prasad Eye Institute, says, “The tele-counselling staff is the first point of contact for patients and for providing advice about appointment availability and booking onsite appointments. The patient care staff is the second point of contact if required to help with emergencies and connect to doctors. It is followed by ophthalmologists in our case or specialised doctors.”

As per a recent report, there was a record 500% rise in healthcare teleconsultations, of which 80% were firsttime users. Dr Tarun Rajput, Smile Studio Gurgaon, uses mobile apps to enable regular and new patients to ask questions about oral care, make appointments or schedule emergency visits. He says, “Dentists are starting to take a closer look at how telehealth can improve their care delivery and the possibilities are numerous. Dental problems do not allow you the luxury to wait for weeks, it often needs immediate attention and telemedicine is a perfect solution to this.”

Though none of the most discussed ailments was in the domains of speciality or super-speciality, healthcare teleconsultation is here to stay and will be a new norm in the new world order.

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Health & Wellness

What is The Full Meaning of Health?



Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health may refer to the ability to adapt and manage physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social conditions through changes in lifestyle or self-care.

The word “health” is sometimes used as an abbreviation for “health care”, although health care is only one part of what is meant by health. For example, one might speak about the benefits of “going to the doctor” or “taking medicine”, or the costs of not getting enough sleep or exercise.

There are many other factors that impact on health each day:  nutrition(the food we eat), childhood experiences (the way we were raised), quality of medical care (the drugs and surgery used), genetics (how strong our immune system is), stress levels (whether we feel anxious or depressed), environmental exposure to chemicals and toxins (pesticides on crops, exhaust from cars) and so on .

Health is a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. An important way to promote health is to prevent disease, which can be accomplished through immunization programs and screening for early signs of disease. Promotion of good health often involves advice and education about healthy eating habits, exercise, hygiene, self-care, preventive measures against infectious diseases and other health practices. Health care systems are organizations established to meet the health needs of target populations.

Why do we need a healthy lifestyle?

A healthy lifestyle refers to the habits that help people live longer and healthier lives. A healthy lifestyle includes:

Eating a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables.

Regular exercise.

Not smoking cigarettes.

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Health & Wellness

Kashmiri ASHA worker serves as inspiration by donating blood 28 times




A 32-year-old woman named Bilqees Ara, an ASHA worker, has donated blood 28 times since 2012. She has served as an inspiration to others across the nation.

Bilqees, who is from the Handwara Tehsil in the Kupwara area of North Kashmir, stated that she understands the “importance of blood”.

She said that by donating a pint of blood, she not only saves a precious life but an entire family.

She began donating blood in 2012 and has since given 28 pints.

She expressed her gratitude and pride at being the saviour of so many patients in the Kashmir valley.

I’ve seen people cry helplessly as they try to get blood to save their loved ones, but I’m proud of myself because I’ve arranged blood for them as well. “I felt an inner joy after that,” she said.

In Kashmir, she is known as the “Blood Woman of Kashmir”.

She is a registered blood donor. Whenever a need arises, the officials at the Blood Bank at Handwara hospital call her and, within the shortest span of time, she makes herself available to donate blood.

Women should come forward and do this as there is nothing to be afraid of. This is to be done for society, she said. She also said that she wondered who else would do it if she refused.

If a person has blood and courage, why can’t he give it to someone else in a time of need? She asked.

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Health & Wellness

Covid facilities to reduce in Delhi amid drop in cases




The Delhi government has closed 11 Covid care facilities because to a consistent reduction in cases. Two Covid Care Centers are operational at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital, which has 50 beds, and Balak Ram Hospital, which has 25 beds, according to a government report. Only five admissions were registered at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital over the past three months, while there were none at Balak Ram Hospital.

The number of patients has steadily decreased at the remaining CCCs as well, according to reports.

According to officials, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday decided to scale back the medical staff and infrastructure that had been deployed for COVID management in a planned manner. The health department will now formulate an action plan in response to this decision.

“The deven CCCs were closed and dismantled by Delhi government and one by the Centre and three others with total 4000 bed capacity- Radha Saomi Satsang ,Chattarpur, Sawan Kirpal, Burari , and Sant Nirankari, Burari- were closed but not yet dismantled”, officials said.

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Health & Wellness

India’s daily covid tally falls below 5k with 4,858 new cases




India reported 4,858 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, 806 fewer than yesterday, bringing the total to 4,45,39,046, according to data released by the Union health ministry on Monday. On the other hand, according to the health bulletin, the number of active cases rose to 48,027.

India has 0.11 percent of the infections that are still active, and the Covid recovery rate has risen to 98.71 percent. 2.76 percent was the daily positivity rate, while 1.78 percent was the weekly positivity rate.

Infections with the coronavirus are currently most common in Kerala, followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, and West Bengal.

The health ministry stated that as many as 18 fatalities were reported today, taking the death toll to 5,28,355. This included eight deaths reconciled by Kerala.

According to the data available, 2.16 billion doses of vaccines have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide Covid vaccination drive.

On December 19, India’s Covid-19 total had reached one billion. On May 4 and June 23, respectively, last year, it reached the depressing milestones of two and three crore. On January 25 of this year, the number of Covid cases in the nation surpassed four crore.

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Health & Wellness

Over 100 people suffer food poisoning in Manipur




Since Tuesday, over 100 people, including children, have been admitted to hospitals in the Senapati district of Manipur due to a possible case of food poisoning linked to a birthday celebration in the hilly state.

According to medical officer Dr. Th Veidai Shuru of PHC Paomata on Thursday, the majority of the patients, who are from the villages of Tungjoy and Tunggam, were admitted at the Public Health Centre (PHC) Paomata while some were in the Public Health Sub-Centre (PHSC) at Tungjoy.

From Tuesday onward through Wednesday, patients with complaints of loose motion, fever, and bodily soreness were admitted to health centres.

“Now most of the patients are getting relatively better, “said Dr Veidai.

According to reports from medical facilities, about 83 people have been released, and the 31 others are anticipated to leave soon.

According to the specialists, food poisoning is a possibility. According to locals, the primary cause may be the drinking of fermented fish chutney during birthday festivities.

“However, it will take at least 7 to 14 days to get the results for the samples which we collected and sent for testing and we’ve also collected blood samples to check other diseases, Dr Veidai said.”

Meanwhile, representatives from the food safety agency visited a village in the Senapati district to determine what was causing the widespread illness.

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Health & Wellness

Does Medicaid Pay for Air Purifiers?



Medicaid services, as convenient as it sounds, might not be fulfilling enough to live a comfortable life for low-income families. Air purifiers are no more a luxury and have become a requirement to stay healthy. When we come to this, the real question is: does Medicaid pay for air purifiers?

The answer to this simple question is no. Medicaid does not cover air purifiers until and unless it is prescribed by a doctor if you are medically ill. This is not just enough to know; read on to have a better idea of how medicare works and what are your other options.

Does Medicaid Pay for Air Purifiers?

Medicaid is an insuranse plan which does not cover equipment lik air purifier, room heater, humidifier, dehumidifier, and air conditioner. The plan is only entitled to cover only those devices, which are Durable Medical Equipment.

For instance, Medicare is shown to provide Positive Airway Pressure machines if you are medically proven to have obstructive sleep apnea. However, in some cases, Medicaid may reimburse you with an air purifier and humidifier if you are medically proven for its need.

To do so, you must provide a proof showing authentication of your medical need, like a prescription or a letter of medical necessity. The plan only covers medical grade air purifiers and Air Purifier Mag has shared some of the best options that may help you get your air purifier cost covered under Medicaid easily.

Why Original Medicaid does not Include Air Purifier in their Part B?

Original Medicaid part B only covers the equipments under the DME category and since the plan does not categorize air purifiers as a DME, it’s not in the list. They rather believe it to be an environmental control equipment and not primarily medical in nature.

Same is the case with the other such appliances like humidifiers and room heaters  that are designed to improve or manage health conditions.

Can you Ask a Doctor to Prescribe you An Air Purifier?

You can request your doctor to prescribe you an air purifier only if you really think it could bring a difference in your health status. Medical grade air purifiers, which use HEPA filters are usually prescribed by the doctors to look after health condiitons like asthma. In some cases, doctors can refuse to sign you a prescription considering its short term benefits.

Does Medicaid Advantage Plus Pay for Air Purifiers?

Medicaid Advantage Plus is a long-term health management solution for people with chronic condition who need health devices and tools in their homes and have access to both Medicare and Medicaid plans.

The MAP plan is offered by the companies associated with Medicaid to cover all the services laid down by the original Medicaid plan.

Unlike the original plan, as allowed by the fall enrollment of 2020, the Advantage plan is more likely to be helpful in covering the cost of health equipment like air conditioners and air purifiers. Coverage plans and type of health devices covered in the Advantage plan vary from one provider to another.            

Which Durable Medical Equipment does Original Medicaid Part B Cover?

Medicaid, in general, covers the major chunk i.e. 80% of the Medicaid approved health equipment also called, durable medical equipment, to be used at home. To consider it a DME, Medicaid believes the equipment should be able to be repeatedly used, must only be useful for the sick, and restricted to home usage.

The equipment the plan will cover is based on the plan you choose and your health condition. Here’s a list of equipment Medicaid plan covers:

● Hospital beds

● Seat lifts

● Pacemaker monitors

● Blood glucose monitors

● Canes

● Wheelchair lifts

● Crutches

● Heating pads

● Oxygen regulators

● Face masks

● Alternating pressure pads, mattresses

● Motorized wheelchair

● Heat lamps

● Oxygen

● Sitz baths

● Ventilators

● Bedpans

● Walkers

Other Ways To Get Inssurance or Pay for an Air Purifier

Either when time is running out or there is no way out to get your prescription approved by Medicaid, you can opt for other ways to cover the expenses for your DME.

Private insurance: Even though FSA or HSA debit card isn’t allowed to be used on purchase of equipments, you can reimburse the amount by FSA after buying it from your own money. Most of the insurance providers cover air purifier as long as a proof is provided in terms of prescription or letter of medical necessaity.

Second Hand: You can always pay for the the equipment from your pocket. However, one needs to understand the cost difference if one opts for an insurance plan. You can directly pay and get second hand DME at half price from Facebook Market place, eBay, or any good thrift store.

Veterans Health Care: With the help of Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans and their spouses have the benefit of getting Medicaid copayment or the complete cost of DME.

Nonprofit Assistance: There are a number of nonprofit foundations and state programs, which help elderly with DME through low or interest-free loans and different programs. Visit your state’s site to have a better idea on the available programs.

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