How OPDs are upping their game

In the light of few walk-ins, OPDs are taking every possible measure to make healthcare safe and accessible.
OPD patients being attended to at Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram and Paras Hospitals, Gurugram
OPD patients being attended to at Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram and Paras Hospitals, Gurugram

PRE-COVID era, OPDs used to be teeming with patients. But not anymore, given that hospitals are viewed as COVID hotspots.

“For instance, the number of gynae patients has reduced by 70 per cent. Patients who come now, all take prior appointments,” shares Dr Rita Bakshi, Chairperson of RISAA IVF clinic, Green Park. Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram, used to receive a daily footfall of 350 OPD patients, and now gets only 200 patients.

“We are also doing tele and video consultation for our follow-up patients. For this, they need to install our app,” says Dr Ashish Nandy, Consultant & HOD Department of Emergency Medicine, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

But the fresh cases are recommended to visit the OPD. But contactless consultation has its limits.

Dentist Dr Gaurav Kharbanda of Kharbanda Polyclinic, says doctors start examining a patient the moment they walk into their cabin.

“This is not possible on a video call. So, I am entertaining patients only by appointment. Pain is something you can’t postpone for a long time. And once you know that you have to live with COVID, you will take precautionary measures.”

Dr Navin Taneja, Founder & CEO of The National Skin Centre, South Ex Part 1, observes that some of his patients only want online consultation as they are quite afraid to step out.

“They share high-quality pictures of the affected area. Others are utilising this time to get aesthetic procedures and lasers for all rejuvenation purposes.”

For those in need of emergency care and have no other option but to visit the doctor, hospitals/clinics are taking all necessary measures to instil confidence in them.

“We just moved to a bigger space so that it is easy to maintain social distancing.

"We are using PPE kits and masks. Apart from that, sanitisation and fumigation happens thrice a day,” says Dr Kharbanda, a denist.

At the entrance of RISAA IVF clinic, patients are checked for fever, sore throat, cough, aches, loss of taste/smell, and anyone found with the above symptoms are suggested to go for a video consultation.

“Patients are encouraged to come alone if possible. All patients have to wear masks and are given disposable gloves. We make sure antenatal patients are called in only for very important reasons,” Dr Bakshi adds.

While clinics are only entertaining prior appointments, hospitals are open to walk-ins. “The staff has to report patients showing any COVID symptoms.

They have been instructed to maintain adequate distance while at work and during lunch hours. Gloves, masks, face shields, gowns, and PPE kits are also provided,” says Dr Bakshi.

The National Skin Centre distributes sanitisers, shoe covers and gloves to all patients.

“While scheduling an appointment, the patient is questioned about their travel history or COVID symptoms. Accordingly, we plan a physical meeting or a video consultation. We have also installed Hepa air filters in all our treatment rooms, and we maintain a gap of half an hour between two patients,” adds Dr Taneja.

Inside operation theatres (OTs) for both minor and major operations/treatments, only disposable sheets and gowns are used, informs Dr Bakshi.

PPE kit is made mandatory for the patient, the doctor and the assistant during any operations/procedures.

“The ultrasound probe and table, OT table and even the OT and the reception are frequently sanitised. COVID testing is a must for major operations, especially if the patient is from a containment zone,” adds Dr Bakshi.

Dr Nikhil Mishra, Chief of Medical Services, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram, says, “For any patient with suspected COVID symptoms, getting tested prior to surgery is mandatory at our hospital.”

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