Apollo Telehealth Center Touches Lives in Meghalaya’s Rural Heartlands

Smart Village Movement, June 10, 2023

A quiet revolution is underway in the remote villages of Meghalaya as Apollo Hospitals and the Government of Meghalaya’s Smart Village Movement join forces to transform healthcare access. This remarkable collaboration brings hope and healing to rural communities and paves the way for greater acceptance of technology and innovation in healthcare. The partnership between  Apollo Hospitals and SVM has birthed a unique healthcare model that blends tradition with technology, providing a lifeline for those residing far from urban medical facilities. This initiative is bridging the healthcare gap and inspiring communities in the most remote parts of the state to embrace the potential of technology to improve their well-being.

Quality Healthcare In Your Neighbourhood

Imagine a world where a doctor’s expertise is just a few steps away, even in the remotest corners of the state. This seemingly impossible dream has become a reality thanks to Apollo Hospitals’ establishment of five Digital Dispensaries. These state-of-the-art clinics bring quality healthcare services, including teleconsultations with experienced doctors, diagnostic tests, and affordable medicines, to the neighborhoods of villagers.

Hope For a Healthier Future

The impact of this healthcare revolution is not just statistical; it’s personal and deeply human. Villagers in Meghalaya, who were once burdened by the challenges of accessing medical care, are now all praises for the Apollo Telehealth Centers that have sprung up in their communities.

“What is special about the Apollo Telehealth Center is the fact that patients who reside in the remote areas don’t need to travel long distances  to the capital to meet with specialists. Instead, we provide them the service of consulting with the doctors and specialists over video conferencing. They don’t have to spend too much time or  money on travelling or the consultation itself since they can avail services here at reasonable prices.” Says Shisha Shadap, Staff Nurse-Apollo Telehealth Center, Tyrsad

The presence of these well-equipped clinics has sparked a newfound sense of aspiration, filling villagers’ hearts with hope for a healthier future. The effective treatment they receive at these facilities instills trust, ensuring that villagers return time and again to seek the care they deserve. Moreover, the accessibility and affordability of these services have lifted a significant financial burden off their shoulders, sparing them the arduous journeys to distant healthcare facilities. The testimonials of gratitude from these rural communities highlight the profound impact that Apollo Telehealth Center and SVM have had on their lives.

“Now, We Don’t Have to Worry”

A resident of a remote village in West Garo Hills, Meghalaya, shares her heartfelt experience with the Apollo Telehealth Center: “Before the clinic opened, we had to travel quite a  distance to seek medical care. It was not only expensive but also time-consuming. Apollo’s clinic in our village has been a blessing. The doctors are highly skilled, and we can get the necessary medicines at affordable prices. Now, we don’t have to worry about travelling very far for healthcare.”

“I have been suffering from diabetes for the past three years. The treatment I have been getting till date was not effective and I felt the right diagnosis was not done and medicines were not giving me relief. However, when I came for a check up here at the Apollo Telehealth Center. I got my medicine here after consultations with the doctors over the video call. They prescribed medicine only after completely understanding my problem.”, said a resident of Tyrsad, a village in the East Khasi Hills.

Apollo’s History: A Commitment to Healthcare Accessibility

The roots of Apollo Hospitals’ commitment to healthcare accessibility can be traced back to its very inception in 1983 under the visionary leadership of Dr. Prathap C. Reddy. Driven by a noble vision of providing  “Healthcare for All,” Apollo began its remarkable journey by establishing the world’s first V-SAT-enabled telehealth and emergency healthcare service in the upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh. Over the years, Apollo’s Remote Healthcare division has expanded its reach, touching the lives of over 20.8 million individuals through their clinical interactions in India and various countries across Asia and Africa. Integrating technology, especially telemedicine, has played a pivotal role in achieving these milestones and bridging the healthcare divide.

Partnering with the Smart Village Movement in Meghalaya, Apollo Hospitals has tailored its business model to meet the specific needs of rural markets. This successful collaboration goes beyond addressing healthcare availability, aiming to establish sustainable development models. Combining SVM’s expertise in social intervention programs with Apollo’s healthcare capabilities, the pilot project in Meghalaya focuses on long-term dividends in disease prevention and management. Challenges, though, still remain in building sustainable healthcare models, with a need for increased grassroots awareness and community mobilization. Technology plays a crucial role in Apollo’s efforts, with integrated telemedicine platforms, smart diagnostics, and pharmacy usage algorithms, and capacity-building initiatives to ensure comprehensive care and patient empowerment.

Behavioural Change In Villagers

“Every village and every part of the country is culturally varied, and the people’s mindset is also different. Wherever we go and meet new people, rural people always expect the doctor to come and touch and feel their pulse. Why? Because they have a certain faith that if the doctor puts a hand on them, they’ll get cured.

After many years of using telemedicine to bridge India’s physician gap, we have given them confidence in technology-enabled healthcare. We bring the doctor (virtually) into the centre. He/She interacts with them and understands the actual need of the patient and then prescribes the medication and the required lab investigations.”

Mr. Prem Anand S

Chief Business Officer-Telemedicine, Apollo Hospitals

Attitudes towards healthcare technology are changing as people increasingly recognize its benefits. Initially skeptical, individuals now appreciate the convenience of accessing medical expertise through phone calls or video consultations. Factors such as improved technology, widespread smartphone usage, and positive outcomes have contributed to this shift. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated acceptance, with telemedicine becoming a mainstream option. Although some concerns remain, transparent communication, data security, and evidence-based information can help build trust. Overall, as people experience the advantages of healthcare tech, their attitudes are evolving, paving the way for its wider adoption.

Apollo Telehealth Center – Meghalaya Digital Dispensary Dashboard as of 16-06-23

The Apollo Telehealth Centers have established their presence in Dadenggre (West Garo Hills), Mawdgung (East Khasi Hills), Rongjeng (East Garo Hills), Tura (West Garo Hills), and Tyrsad (East Khasi Hills), bringing accessible healthcare to these areas. The centers have conducted an impressive number of consultations, totaling 9,273, and organised 8,349 NCD (Non-Communicable Disease) camps, and 7368 Social Health Education programmes in the villages surrounding the centers. These initiatives have significantly contributed to improving healthcare access and addressing the medical needs of the communities served by the centers.

The partnership between Apollo Hospitals and the Smart Village Movement (SVM) in Meghalaya’s rural heartlands is a testament to their unwavering dedication to revolutionizing healthcare. Apollo’s commitment to pioneering innovative solutions that make a difference is evident as they bring quality healthcare within reach of those who need it most. As the healthcare landscape evolves, Apollo Hospitals and SVM have become a beacon of hope, weaving together the tapestry of a healthier, happier Meghalaya. With every step forward, we are transforming the healthcare landscape one village at a time, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of the people they serve.