We all agree that technology has indeed made most aspects of our lives a whole lot easier, don’t we? But have you given a thought to the significant impact of technology in the realm of healthcare, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic? In the Indian healthcare ecosystem, we are witnessing a massive technology-led disruption over the past few years, which has been further accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology has increasingly become the driving force behind providing quality care to patients today.
We all hate the stressful and time-consuming doctor appointments. Now technology (and COVID-19 constraints) have made possible online consultations, where physicians see patients remotely and diagnose their problems through telemedicine, even in the most rural areas. Technology is progressively being used to improve patient care and facilitate various aspects of the healthcare industry, impacting society as a whole. But there’s more to it! Technology has been an enabler in redefining infertility and sexual wellness in India.
Despite the constant innovation and growth in India’s reproductive health sector, most people still shy away from conversations regarding sexual and reproductive health. Moreover, there are many enduring myths and taboos related to this sector that get passed on from our parents and grandparents. The absence of healthy conversations around sexual and reproductive wellness in mainstream media leaves a majority of the people confused, forcing them to rely upon often misleading sources of information. But, with the advances in technology, accurate and reliable information is now easily accessible for everyone from the comforts of their homes. Here’s how!
Telemedicine has created a safe space for you to talk openly about fertility and sexual health, without having to worry about exposure while visiting clinics and hospitals. You can do it from the privacy of your home and not worry about running into people you may know.
Online consultations have paved the way for convenient, stress-free, at-home solutions and services. You no longer have to worry about getting stuck in traffic, running late for appointments, or skipping your work to see the doctor. This is empowering for both men and women, who are busy with their daily lives or are not comfortable discussing their sex and reproductive lives with doctors in a face-to-face conversation. Even fertility tests can be done in the comfort of people’s homes today.
Another huge hurdle that digital medicine is solving is misinformation. Instead of relying on a pharmacist to give you a quick solution, you can now speak with a healthcare professional at your convenience, who will give you a safer and more sensible solution.
Digital technology is a powerful tool for creating awareness. Social media has given us an empowering platform to openly talk about sex, sexuality and reproductive health. Not to forget our digital publications, blogs and influencers that are very frank and are slowly increasing the general awareness on topics like sexual and reproductive health. It has also helped break longstanding myths in this space, triggering the right kind of conversations. Conversations around body positivity and mental health are more prevalent now. These help with breaking stereotypes, and empowering people.
Technology has definitely increased access to standardised fertility management solutions. ART or Assisted Reproductive Technology, which includes fertility treatments like IVF (in vitro fertilization) and IUI (Intrauterine insemination), has started gaining popularity in India over the last few years.
The absence of financial and medical transparency in the industry has many times confused couples about the procedures and the costs involved. In the process, these services end up costing them a small fortune. Technology-based platforms can be very useful here, helping bridge this gap by offering more information and giving transparency, while offering greater options to people.
Another widespread myth is that reproductive wellness issues are largely associated with women. However, with awareness levels improving and an increased number of digital platforms offering clarity, more and more men are stepping forward to voice their concerns and to seek solutions. Due to the pandemic, many services have gone online and become more easily available to men who may not otherwise be comfortable discussing sensitive issues or visiting a clinic.
In short, technology has played a pivotal role in breaking myths and taboos related to sexual wellness in India. However, there is still a long way to go. Both in terms of creating awareness and bringing forth innovation, there is always more to do. Technology is evolving every day, and with it comes hope for more transparency and openness in the sector.
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