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India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT spearheads project to offer free COVID-19 virtual care services

Another initiative to provide free virtual home care for COVID-19 patients was launched in India last week.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has joined forces with New York-listed tech firm Avaya and other groups to launch MedicSetu, a non-profit initiative providing online health consultations for patients under home quarantine.

Why IT matters
According to a press statement, MedicSetu aims to raise patient access to health care services while “easing the burden on stretched resources at healthcare institutions”. India is still battling an overwhelming second wave of COVID-19 infections which pushed its case count to over 28 million with around 326,000 deaths as of end-May, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Launched nationwide, the project uses a platform powered by Avaya Spaces’ workstream collaboration solution to directly connect patients to doctors in private virtual rooms. The platform is created by Avaya and IT solutions provider I-Novate in collaboration with MySenior Doctors, an app which provides specialist consultations.

“It is an amalgamation of both availing an easy-to-use virtual communication platform between patients and doctors, and reducing the load on an already overburdened health infrastructure,” said Anish Kumar, director and co-founder of I-Novate, when describing MedicSetu.

Volunteer doctors from non-governmental organisations, including Rotary International and Arogya Foundation of India, have joined the platform. According to Avaya, over 1,000 doctors have rendered free services via MedicSetu.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in India has increased drastically over the past weeks, putting a significant strain on our current healthcare infrastructure. But we are fortunate and humbled that so many NGOs and medical groups have come forward to help,” Kunaal Prasad, COO of MeitY’s National Language Translation Mission, said.

“Right now, the focus is totally on the COVID-19 patients who are hospitalised. [B]ut the ones who are home quarantined need equal attention,” Rotary International Director Rtn. Kamal Sanghvi also stated.

The larger trend
A number of public-private initiatives were recently launched in India to help curb its rising COVID-19 cases.

The state of Haryana and Deloitte have teamed up to launch Sanjeevani Pariyojana, or The Life Project, which provides virtual home care services to patients with mild to moderate symptoms of the disease.

Volunteer doctors from the US have used the eGlobalDoctors platform to offer free teleconsultations to keep patients with mild COVID-19 case out of emergency rooms.

Also last week, Lytus Technologies, a platform services provider, launched its telemedicine business in India, along with a network of local health centres.

On the record
“This is a purely non-commercial project, driven by the spirit of cooperation and contribution of doctors, NGOs, federations, volunteers and others, and we thank them for their proactive support to help us get the situation under control,” Prasad said.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our Avaya team has gone above and beyond to safeguard the health and safety of others, while supporting organisations and customers globally in their ability to respond. And once again we’ve been humbled by the incredible work that our team put into this initiative, and by their drive to use our technology for good in the face of significant societal challenges,” Vishal Agrawal, managing director of Avaya India, also said. Healthcare IT News

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