Once tested positive for COVID-19, the asymptomatic or the mildly symptomatic patients deal with dozens of questions in their minds. The dilemma about how to monitor their health, what medication to take, when to take them, what diet to follow, what kind of exercises to do, when to consult a doctor, when to go to a hospital,... In such circumstances, in order to be a helping hand for the patients and to unburden the healthcare workers and the hospitals, doctors from Hyderabad have started a telemedicine service.
Though the alumni of Hyderabadâ€™s Osmania Medical College and Gandhi Medical college started this initially, now they have about 70 doctors from across the country volunteering for the cause. About 30 more doctors volunteers are also on hold, as they are putting up numbers only after thorough verification.
Dr Ifrah, who began this initiative said, â€śI got this thought after my timeline in social media filled with requests from various people seeking medical advice for coronavirus patients. Then on April 19, we discussed among our friends about the idea of starting a telemedicine service. Soon, several other doctors, who are in the circle came forward to volunteer. With this we have formed a schedule with the availability of the doctors.â€ť
Dr Ifrah adds that, though they are doing this service now, providing telemedicine can be a tricky job as they are not seeing the patient directly and have to depend on what the patient is saying.
Every day, each of these doctors, in their respective slots are getting anywhere between 25 to 60 requests through either calls or text messages from the affected patients. If any of these doctors are overloaded, they are diverting the requests to other available doctors from the schedule. About 25 doctors have started this service on April 20 by sharing the list of the doctors who are available according to their available timings in social media.
In the schedule the doctors have clearly put up when the particular doctor would be available and what languages he or she knows, whether to approach them through call or text. Upon sharing this schedule on social media, the doctors are flooded with requests from all over the country.
Posting an updated list of doctors to advise and help mild covid patients (who do not meet admission criteria) So far we have fielded 600+ calls from people all over India. The need of the hour is immeasurable and the service is free and pan India. Please share and amplify! pic.twitter.com/kqSpTkZXCJâ€” Aditi (@adi_singh18) April 24, 2021
â€śWe did not expect to have the kind of attention that we have now. Earlier, as doctors we were receiving queries from friends and family, people who know us. Then we thought that people with resources are only going through this amount of panic and what about people who do not have any resources, who cannot call a doctor whenever they want to,â€ť says Dr. Aditi Singh, who is volunteering.
These doctors aim to be free and accessible to everyone, and they are not providing their services through any particular platform or any app. â€śWe wanted to be such that any person in India can dial a number or text us and ask questions and get it answered, so that at least some of their panic is addressed,â€ť adds Dr. Aditi.
The doctors say that their main aim is to be safe and still be accessible to people while reducing the burden on doctors who are already overburdened with numerous coronavirus cases in hospitals.
Upon receiving a call from the asymptomatic patients, they are advising the patient on how to safely isolate themselves and suggesting how a good diet, exercise and rest are the key to recovery. If any of the patients is mildly symptomatic with fever or cold, then they are treated based on the symptoms, while monitoring their vitals and advising them on when to go to a hospital.