KOCHI: When hospital doors shut doors before outpatients and those falling in the medically vulnerable category after the pandemic struck, tele-consultation was a boon in the darkest times. For those needing regular check-ups and weren’t allowed to leave their homes, it was the only lifeline. Enabling patients to consult doctors while in the safety and comfort of their homes, telecommunication ensured adequate specialist attention for all patients.
With good connectivity and easy access to the Internet, Kerala overcame the telemedicine challenge with flying colours and was ranked in the top four among list of states providing tele-consultation facilities to its people. eSanjeevani, the OPD platform of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was launched in April across the state and has completed three lakh teleconsultation sessions on Thursday.
Kerala stood in the third position, with 32,921 tele-consultations. eSanjeevani aims to provide comprehensive healthcare services to patients at their homes even in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic. Though the platform was launched in April by the Centre, the facility was utilised actively in Kerala from June.With 1,29,801 digital interactions, Tamil Nadu has held the largest number of tele-consultations so far.
Tamil Nadu was one of the worst affected by Covid among Indian states. At a critical time when conventional medical consultations were perceived as risky owing to the infectious nature of the disease, telemedicine helped.Uttar Pradesh came second with 96,151 consultations, and Uttarakhand fourth, with 10,391 consultations. These four states accounted for over two lakh tele-consultations (89.75% of total consultations nation-wide).
Twenty-six states are using the eSanjeevani facility at present. In Kerala, around 300 doctors are actively engaged in tele-consultation. “The numbers may vary but the facility offered is getting a lot of response from the patients. Both the doctors and the patients turned to telemedicine and tele-consultation facilities. In the initial days of lockdown, it was difficult for the patients to go for their regular checkups and mild health issues. But now, though things are back to normal, there are patients making use of the facility,” said a health official.
“There is a whole wing for the telemedicine facility set up in each district. Over 100-150 calls are received daily by the team,” said the health official. Even several private hospitals have started their own tele-consultation platforms for regular patients. “Doctors with us have been actively involved with the tele-consultation facility. Though doctors are also caught up with the regular OPs in their hospitals, they do find time for the online platform as well. Around 50 doctors are involved in the tele-consultation facility,” said Dr Abraham Varghese, state president, Indian Medical Association (IMA)The eSanjeevani platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services-- Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) tele-consultations.
eSanjeevani, the OPD platform of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, was launched in April and has completed 3 lakh calls on Thursday.