Indian doctors begin treating patients online amid COVID-19 outbreak
Many doctors across India have begun giving consultations on video calls, WhatsApp chats and normal phone calls to treat patients suffering from illnesses such as diabetes or kidney problems as a means to reduce the rush at their clinics and also avoid the cause for an unnecessary risk of any infections. Sushila Kataria, the director of internal medicine at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon near New Delhi said, "There is a lockdown, patients cannot come, but the disease will not wait,". Adding that she has begun addressing almost 80% of her patients online, she says she is overseeing physical check-ups only if they are of emergency in nature.
India has been on lockdown mode since March 25, which is scheduled to come to an end on May 31, with the nation's tally of coronavirus cases going more than 166,000 to date, with over 4,700 deaths. Hospitals across the nation are running short of doctors in comparison to the number of patients that are showing up and allocating beds for them too is proving to be a daunting task considering the COVID-19 outbreak has left everybody overwhelmed. Attention towards those infected with the coronavirus has been on a high when compared to the non-virus patients and those with chronic illnesses in hospitals around the country as the system has been overstretched. As a result, India has issued telemedicine guidelines as a step forward for internet consultations.
Even before the pandemic hit the world, patients in India could book appointments online as well make advance payments along with free follow-up consultations with the process since then attaining more structure. General physician Devendra Taneja said an emergency video call now costs the most and calls that are scheduled ahead are cheaper while phone call fees are considerably lower and a WhatsApp chat is the cheapest.
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