Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services that focus on a curative aspect of care. It is practicing medicine using telecommunication technology to deliver care from a distance. Telehealth, on the other hand, is broader in scope, and includes disease prevention, digital health promotion and curative care.
Telemedicine in India is not an overnight development as an outcome of Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020. With the cumulative effort of governments and healthcare pioneers like Dr. K Ganapathy and Dr. Devi Shetty, India has been experimenting with telemedicine since the last two decades to address the issues of access and availability of specialist care.
1996 - Deployment of first indigenously developed hospital information system software by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Noida at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow
1999 - Indigenous development of telemedicine technology and pilot deployments by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITY), Government of India (GoI) at AIIMS, New Delhi, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh and SGPGIMS, Lucknow.
2000 - Indian Space Research Organization's (ISRO ) telemedicine pilot project linked Chennai's Apollo Hospital with the Apollo rural hospital at Aragonda village in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
2001 - Dr. K Ganapathy, a neurosurgeon regarded as the father of telemedicine in India, helped set up the Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation (ATNF) and Apollo Telehealth Services. 1st telemedicine network between 3 institutions: AIIMS, PGIMER and SGPGIMS.
2003-04 - Deployment of satellite communication (SATCOM) based telemedicine nodes across the country by ISRO for tele-education and teleconsultation services.
2005 - MoHFW constituted Indian task force for telemedicine
2010- SGPGIMS was made National Resource Centre for Telemedicine by MoHFW.
2012- EMR/EHR Standards by Expert Group of MoHFW establishment
2015-19 - In the five years before the Covid-19 pandemic, telemedicine's growth was primarily through public- private partnerships.