Mumbai: Mainstreaming telemedicine is believed to be the much needed and most transformative change required in the health care system, especially amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Considering this, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's G (South) ward (Worli, Prabhadevi, Elphinstone) has set up a 'Telemedicine Covid care' at Podar Hospital in Worli on a pilot basis.
"We have launched a Telemedicine Covid Care centre on June 24, as it is the need of the hour. It is started only at Podar Hospital's isolation centre, for now. It has been just four days since we set it up. It will be too early for us to say how helpful it is or whether we have decided to replicate the same in other areas. We will monitor how it works before deciding on our further course of action. The one started at Podar Hospital is a pilot project and is at a very initial stage. It's a joint effort by BMC IT team, Price Water Cooper (PWC) consultants and CISCO," said Sharad Ughade, Assistant Municipal Corporation of G (South) ward. The hardware and software for the facility will be provided by CISCO health care.
According to Ughade, currently, two to three doctors are helping us with the system. They are providing consultations for one hour each. "We are looking forward to tieing up with more registered practitioners soon, including diabetologists, ENT, general physicians and other specialists."
MLA of Worli constituency and Minister of Tourism, Environment and Climate change Aaditya Thackeray tweeted: "This afternoon we launched Telemedicine covid care at Poddar Hospital, Worli. This facility and hardware committed by @Cisco will enable doctors to remote monitor patients in isolation wards, with least chances of infection. If this works well, this model can be replicated."
While many private practitioners have already started embracing the system, this is the first time telemedicine is being adopted at the BMC ward level.
Worldwide, Covid-19 has caused millions of people to try telemedicine for the first time. "The health care system will never be the same again even after coronavirus crisis ends. More and more patients might want to opt for telemedicine rather than wasting time in travelling for the physical consultations. Telemedicine Society of India was started 18 years ago, however, the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated the process and promoted it further.," a senior BMC official added.