Govt's online OPD initiative achieves 7 lakh consultations: Health ministry

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New Delhi, Nov 7 (PTI) The Union Health ministry said its telemedicine initiative eSanjeevani crossed seven lakh consultations on Saturday with the last one lakh online consultations taking place in 11 days. This novel digital modality to deliver OPD services virtually has been rapidly gaining popularity, it said.

'With over 10,000 consultations being recorded on eSanjeevani per day, it is shaping into the largest OPD services set up in the country,' the ministry said in a statement.

An innovative intervention to deliver health services, eSanjeevani has started making an impact in smaller towns and rural areas, it said, adding that telemedicine is beneficial for both patients and doctors as the online consultations limit physical contact between them, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 'The eSanjeevani has removed the requirement of doctor to be at a specific location to provide services. It enables states especially the ones with large geographical area, to better management of their human resources,' the statement said. Through eSanjeevani, patients desirous of seeking medical consultations are placed in a virtual queue and upon their turn can see a doctor who is available virtually while being present in another city. Each online OPD consultation generates an e-prescription which can be used to buy medicines or go for diagnostic investigations. Some states including Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already issued government orders to ensure that e-prescriptions are honoured, the statement said.

The ministry said utilisation of eSanjeevani in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka has gone up significantly in the recent past. In Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Uttarakhand the utilisation of eSanjeevani has already been high and steady for the past few months. The top ten states that have registered the highest number of consultations through eSanjeevani and eSanjeevaniOPD platforms are Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra, the statement said. The Ministry of Health along with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (Mohali) is consistently enhancing the capabilities and adding new functionalities in eSanjeevani in consultation with the state administrations, it said.

The eSanjeevani supports two types of online consultation with general physicians and medical specialists. These are doctor-to-doctor (eSanjeevani AB-HWC) and patient-to-doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) tele-consultations. The former variant was rolled out in November 2019 and it is an important pillar of the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme. eSanjeevani (AB-HWC) is to be implemented in all the 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres by December 2022. The health ministry rolled out eSanjeevaniOPD, the second variant, to enable patient-to-doctor teleconsultations in April this year during the first lockdown when OPDs across the country were closed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said. PTI PLB RDM RDM