Beyond Telemedicine, The TMC NCG Navya Way!

Telemedicine has seen a meteoric rise especially post covid. What is telemedicine? It is essentially a way to “meet” or “see” the doctor without visiting the clinic or hospital.

The primary advantage of telemedicine is the comfort a patient or family member feels at seeing his or her treating physician; the comfort and confidence of being able to “consult” your doctor may be priceless. For the physician, the primary goal is to assess whether the patient needs further diagnostics, in-person consultation, treatment planning or a change in treatment. What follows may be more nuanced than the brief touch base over a WhatsApp video or Zoom call. Teleconsultation, one of the channels of Telemedicine is akin to calling your family doctor back in the day, when your doctor has a full lowdown on your condition having treated you over the years, and the call is a reassurance or a quick question or consult to mitigate some anxiety. This is excellent to discuss symptoms around cold, flu, or assess a healing wound. This works well for primary care conditions. It may be convenient for physicians to recover lost revenues due to lowered number of clinic visits and it may provide a convenient mode for a patient to take an action in response to a symptom that is felt. A full and meaningful consultation to diagnose a new/complex condition or consult a new doctor to determine a new/complex treatment plan is difficult and not feasible.

There was no impetus to use telemedicine pre-covid. Covid was the disruption that gave telemedicine an opportunity. There have also been other factors like telemedicine guidelines from ICMR and other bodies that have formalized it as an approach recently.

Navya, a clinical informatics and patient services company was founded in 2010 to empower every cancer patient, caregiver and expert in the world with timely, personalized, and affordable treatment plans based on clinical evidence and backed by leading oncologists consensus-driven, real-time expertise. Navya leverages its AI/ML system, online tumor board of cancer experts, and efficient online cancer consultation with clinical patient advocates to deliver evidence-based multidisciplinary expert treatment plans to patients worldwide in a median turnaround time of 24 hours.

TMC Navya was established as the online arm to scale access to cancer expertise of Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) in 2014. In 2016 we became an integral part of the National Cancer Grid (NCG), a consortium of 200+ healthcare centers across India. TMC NCG Navya has been pioneering Beyond Telemedicine since 2014. It was born at the heels of the problem that super busy experts at large tertiary centers do not have additional time to indulge in ineffective or inefficient email, phone, or video consultation in the middle or at the end of their day spent in the OPD or treating/operating on patients. Specifically, in oncology, a full expert review from diagnostics to treatment planning is beyond the purview of a few minutes of interaction between a cancer patient and an expert. To simulate a multidisciplinary tumor board and provide answers to the 50 questions of a new cancer patient - particularly, to explain the evidence basis and nuances of a complex decision- takes time and effort.

Why Beyond Telemedicine?

- Easy mode of communication for patients.

- Data driven; evidence based personalized treatment plans.

- Scalable access to expertise through rapid reviews of structured case summary.

- Latest technology owing to access to latest research.

- Daily follow-up with patients for accurate medical information.

- Constant patient hand-holding through the entire cancer treatment journey.

- Easy to understand treatment plans.

While remote communication with physicians is here to stay, and is a great way for patients and doctors to stay in touch with each other, it does come with its own challenges. We believe that the concept beyond telemedicine will help stitch the loose ends. Beyond Telemedicine is much more than your regular 1:1 doctor consultation, it is a scalable solution to both patients and physicians.

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