As OPDs resume, hosps find new ways to handle crowds

New Delhi: With the Out Patient Department (OPD) services resuming in almost all private and government hospitals, the footfall of patients has increased for these services. OPDs in major government hospitals were shut, while private hospitals had allowed limited patients for their services.

But since the lockdown was eased, hospitals have resumed their services. A private hospital in Dwarka saw more than 50 patients waiting or either getting checked by the hospital. However, the hospital used to see at least hundreds of patients per day before the pandemic.

The hospital administration said they had not closed the OPD service but had limited it. However, since the pandemic, the rules for OPDs have changed. "Each patient has to go through screening initially before they are checked," said staff at the Venkateshwar Hospital OPD.

After the appointment, particular patients are asked to get their vitals checked. "I have recovered from COVID-19 a week back and was asked to see the doctor. I made an appointment but before I see the doctor, I have been asked to get my vitals checked," said a young patient at OPD.

The patient is then called according to their token number. The doctor meanwhile, checks the patient from a distance. "They are mostly looking at the reports and asking us our symptoms and problems, while we sit near the door," said a patient who was having a minor flu.

Many hospitals are still using teleconsultation for their OPD services and are looking at limited patients. "Even though we have resumed major OPD functioning, it is still better to call first," said an official from a private hospital in Dwarka.

Meanwhile, at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, OPD resumed for follow-up patients from June 25. However, not more than 15 patients a day in each department are allowed. The hospital on average used to witness 1,500 patients. However, many patients can be seen outside the OPD services, waiting to get checked.

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