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Uttar Pradesh to Introduce 'Digital Doctor' Services for Rural Healthcare

Written by : Jayati Dubey

October 25, 2023

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Uttar Pradesh plans to blend telemedicine and on-the-spot diagnostics to enhance healthcare access in rural areas, starting with trials in Lucknow and Bulandshahr.

In an effort to improve healthcare access, particularly in rural regions, Uttar Pradesh is gearing up to launch a 'digital doctor' service. This innovative program, currently in development, combines telemedicine with basic diagnostic capabilities for on-the-spot healthcare solutions.

Private sector proposals have been submitted for the initiative, with the state government set to finalise its structure.

The initial trial for the 'digital doctor' service is slated to commence in Lucknow and Bulandshahr, gradually expanding to other districts. The services provided through this program will be equivalent to those offered at primary health centres. Initially, 20 centres will be established in Lucknow and Bulandshahr.

The state government plans to drive this initiative with private investments, offering subsidised medical consultations, medications, and pathology testing for critical illnesses.

Dr Abhishek Shukla, secretary-general of the Association of International Doctors, said, "Considering the issue of affordability in rural areas, such an initiative will provide expedited and cost-effective treatment options for rural residents."

Uttar Pradesh already offers telemedicine services that enable medical consultations, while urban areas feature health ATMs for basic testing.

In the upcoming 'digital doctor' centres, health assistants will assist individuals in consulting with doctors, assessing their medical conditions, and conducting necessary tests. The test results will be shared with doctors to facilitate medication prescriptions, which will also be available to patients at discounted rates within the digital doctor clinics.

The specific model for the 'digital doctor' initiative will be determined by the Department of Health, which will subsequently identify the locations for establishing these centres. This program holds promise in bridging healthcare gaps and providing efficient medical services, particularly in underserved rural areas.

The Uttar Pradesh government has been at the forefront of digital health technology lately.

Last month, the state announced that newborns delivered in government health facilities in Uttar Pradesh will now receive birth registration certificates immediately after birth, eliminating the need for separate applications by parents. With this, UP became the first state to implement automatic birth registration for government health institutions, verified through the Civil Registration System (CRS) portal.

This recent advancement is the result of the integration of the Maa Navjaat Tracking app (MaNTrA) with the birth registration system by the Uttar Pradesh government, utilising digital technology to enhance convenience for citizens.

Notably, the Maa Navjaat Tracking Application (MaNTrA) for Delivery Point Health Facilities, under the National Health Mission, Government of Uttar Pradesh, received the Silver Award in the "Government Process Re-engineering for Digital Transformation" category of the National Awards for e-Governance Scheme 2023.


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