Published: 01st April 2020
Online doctor consultation sees a boost as hospital OPDs remain closed during lockdown
In India, OPD services of hospitals have been suspended in an attempt to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19
The Union Health Ministry had on March 27 urged people to take advantage of telemedicine services during the ongoing lockdown. Since then, online doctor consultation has shown a big boost of approximately 60 per cent.
Lybrate, one such health and wellness app, said it has witnessed over 60% increase in doctor consultation on its platform in the backdrop of lockdown throughout the country on account of Coronavirus crisis.
"It is highly appreciable that people are staying indoors and turning to online doctor consultation platforms for their healthcare needs. People can consult doctors on the health and wellness app across specialities, letting hospitals attend more serious patients," Saurabh Arora, Founder and CEO, of ALybrate told IANS.
Similarly, another online telemedicine platform, mfine, has also seen the number of patients growing fourfold, and hundreds of queries from hospitals amid the lockdown.
"Earlier there was a grey area around telemedicine. In the absence of policy, some healthcare professionals were apprehensive about telemedicine. These rules helped us a lot to clarify all doubts," mfine co-founder Ashutosh Lawania told IANS. "Earlier we had questions from doctors whether there was a risk doing teleconsultation. Now we won't have those questions."
The Indian Medical Association has also hailed the idea of telemedicine suggested by the government. IMA president Dr Rajan Sharma told IANS, "We are a body of over 3.5 lakh doctors and our nation is in crisis. We are currently providing free consultation over the telephone to the patients on health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, patients of chemotherapy or long-term ailments."
He said most of the doctors are providing consultations and medications on a charitable basis in various states. "The IMA HQ has also started a 24X7 COVID helpline for the general public and now we are starting psychological helpline for the general public, doctors and healthcare professionals," Sharma said.
In India, OPD services of hospitals have been suspended in an attempt to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19. As on Wednesday, 1,637 cases of Coronavirus, including 1,466 active cases, and 38 casualties have been reported in India.