Hospitals gear up to keep the virtual OPDs running even after Covid-19

Hospitals gear up to keep the virtual OPDs running even after Covid-19

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New Delhi: With virtual consultations on the rise in India as a safe way of treating patients during Covid-19 times, doctors, hospitals and clinics are rethinking how technology can be used to meet healthcare needs, anticipating wider use of the digital route after the pandemic subsides.

Apollo Hospitals, Fortis Healthcare and Manipal Hospitals are among those that have accelerated the use of technology following the Covid-19 outbreak, with the lockdown restricting movement of people and hospital visits curtailed due to infection risk.

Apollo Hospitals, the country’s largest healthcare company, recently launched its Apollo 24/7 app, which allows patients to access a range of services and facilities. “In the initial stages of coronavirus in India, the app also offered a risk score based on respondent answers, and guidance on next steps,” Suneeta Reddy, MD of Apollo Hospitals, told ET. Apollo has over 16 million risk scores on the app so far.

According to Reddy, Apollo 24/7 offers virtual consultations with expert Apollo clinicians and access to an online pharmacy and diagnostics.

“It is also a safe digital locker for health records. We expect that more and more people will use the digital route for increasingly more healthcare needs, and Apollo 24/7 is our first step in leveraging that opportunity,” she added.

Fortis Healthcare said its efforts to go completely paperless and digital had started before the pandemic. “It is not a reactionary thing but this is something which is strategic in nature,” said Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD of Fortis Healthcare.

Fortis plans to convert all interfaces with patients and the entire gamut of care services into “pure digital mode,” he said. The company has been working on creating a new electronic medical record system that seamlessly integrates with its diagnostics.

Fortis is planning to roll out its app by next April and this will give patients a one-stop interface to book appointments, receive reports, send queries and even opt for teleconsultations, Raghuvanshi said. Dilip Jose, MD of Manipal Hospitals, said Covid-19 has hastened the process of putting in place a technological framework in hospitals.

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