The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi Thursday resumed its Out Patient Department (OPD) services for follow-up patients — initially for not more than 15 patients a day in each department. The institute had shut down physical consultation for OPD patients in March and has since been offering teleconsultation.
We take a look at what has changed now that the institute is resuming OPD operations, which on an average witnessed 15,000 patients in a day.
When did the institute shut down OPD services and why?
Amid the rising cases of Covid-19, AIIMS on March 18 sent an advisory to OPD patients on their registered phone numbers requesting them to postpone their appointments. From March 20, the hospital curtailed elective surgeries, and a screening area was setup for patients with symptoms of respiratory tract infections. Since March 24, all OPD services for new and follow-up registrations were terminated in a bid to divert the healthcare workers for Covid-19 management.
Has this happened before?
No, this was the first time in the history of AIIMS that OPD services were shut for patients.
What does the recent circular issued by the medical institute say?
On Tuesday, Medical Superintendent Dr DK Sharma issued a circular stating that OPD services will initially be available for follow-up patients, and a limited number of new patients for departments willing to begin physical OPD consultation. No appointments, however, will be given for evening specialty clinics in the first phase of the reopening. Initially, only 15 patients will be attended to in a day per department. The number will be increased, gradually.
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How does one take an appointment now?
Any patient who wants to take an appointment will have to call the institute’s teleconsultation helpline number- 011 2658 9142, 9115444155 and +91 172 522 6032. The patient can also log on to http://www.ors.gov.in to book an appointment. Patients can also be given an appointment for OPD consultation directly by the department or through a computer facility. It will be the prerogative of the departments to call patients directly or screen them through teleconsultation before giving a physical appointment.
All heads of clinical departments at AIIMS have been requested to provide information of the date of resumption of physical OPD for patients, and a daily list of patients, with their phone numbers, who have been given an appointment for a physical consultation. The usual OPD timings i.e. beginning 8.30 am will be followed.
Will patients be screened for Covid-19?
Yes. All patients will be screened for influenza-like illness (ILI) before their entry into the OPD.
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