GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh is unable to launch OPD facilities, for now; however, the telemedicine service will help to provide support to people.
The hospital administration stated: “Due to the pandemic it is unlikely to start the regular OPD facilities, however bearing in mind the needs of the community, the GMCH is dedicated to providing everyone with telemedicine consultancy.”
Furthermore, the GMCH authorities said “The telemedicine service is a prudent step in preventing patient gathering at the hospital and ensuring social distancing,” Health professionals have been given with specialized training from the Center for Development Computing (CDAC) to operate this service.
Telemedicine services by GMCH-32
The service began on 4th March 2020. Almost 200 patients get regular appointments via telemedicine facilities from 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. regular, apart from Sundays and official holidays.
According to officials, from the Center for Development Computing (CDAC) staff have been getting training to operate this service. Patients dial the corresponding OPD center assigned telephone / mobile numbers. The patients can also make video calls for consultations and post their medical records.
The GMCH Department of Clinical Registration is keeping a computerized database of patients undergoing consultations. Since then, the program has benefitted more than 2,300 patients; 30.2 percent are new patients and 69.7 percent are old patients. Of the 2,300 patients in total, 1,090 (47.3%) were from Chandigarh, Punjab (30.0%) and Haryana (17.2%) respectively. Patients from areas like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh also benefitted from these facilities.
Moreover, Dr. Jagat Ram, director of PGIMER said, “We will decide to open the OPDs once the COVID case graph slides down. Sudden opening of OPDs will lead to a massive patient surge and social distancing rules will be gone.
We must use the crisis to further widen telemedicine use. It can resolve availability, discomfort, convenience, and social distance issues, and it can also lessen the burden on hospitals such as AIIMS and PGIMER for tertiary care. In addition to direct patient-doctor consultation, that could be used for physician-specialist consultation amongst tehsil/district hospitals on the one end and medical colleges / multispecialty hospitals on the other.
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