Although the tertiary care hospital is yet to decide on a date to open up regular OPD services, PGIMER Director Jagat Ram maintains that the hospital is coming up with a comprehensive plan to begin OPD services in a phased manner. Currently the hospital is offering OPD consultation through tele-medicine, with more than 600 people registering for tele-consultation every day.
“Our tele-medicine services have been well-received, with more and more people registering every day. We have at least 1,000 through tele-medicine in a day now,” Ram says. Indeed, while around 300 to 400 patients registered for OPD through tele-medicine when it began, 675 people registered for tele-consultation on Tuesday.
As for beginning OPDs in person, people have started pouring in to register themselves in certain departments already. “Apart from the 700-odd patients registered under telemedicine, we are also already getting around 500 people visiting the hospital as well for OPD. For now, these are mostly semi-emergency cases, or people with chronic illnesses such as cancer,” the director says.
According to Ram, around 100 people are already visiting the Advanced Eye Centre (AEC) for OPD services, and 80 patients for radiotherapy and chemotherapy as well. “People are coming in person for paediatric care as well,” Ram adds.
Plan to reduce foot fall to 1,000 a day
Before the lockdown, between 9,000 and 12,000 people visited PGIMER for medical services every day. The hospital has formed a committee to formulate ways in which this footfall can be regulated and brought to a number at which social distancing can be managed. However, this is a herculean task, considering how sought-after treatment at PGIMER is.
“We will have holding spaces outside the New OPD, where patients can be screened and then sent inside in small batches. They will also have to fill a form to declare all their symptoms. Our attempt is to accept patients who are COVID-free, so screening will be a must, and those who have very strong symptoms for COVID will be tested as well before being admitted,” the director explains.
Ram states that the hospital will also push patients to visit neighbouring medical centres and visit PGIMER only when referred to the hospital by local healthcare facilities. “Our goal is to reduce the number of patients who register for OPD in person to 1,000 a day, but it will be hard to ensure that. A committee is currently brainstorming to facilitate this,” Ram adds.
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