If you are unwell and need emergency medical attention, avoiding a hospital visit could be unwise and detrimental to your health, say doctors.

Yes it is safe to visit a hospital now but look out for these 3 safety protocols
Friday, May 22, 2020 - 18:21

For 67-year-old David, a resident of Adyar in Chennai, it has been a difficult couple of months. Despite being a heart patient, he has been unable to get regular check-ups done due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I had a bypass surgery five years ago and I am supposed to get a check-up once a month. But now, I am forced to stay home, feeling very fatigued and dizzy,” laments David.

“He is too scared to leave the house, and he is getting weaker by the day. What if he has an attack in the middle of the night and we are too late to rush him to a hospital?” his daughter Vijaya wonders.

Mr. Harish Manian, CEO of MGM Healthcare Chennai, observes that several such patients stay away from a regular health consultations as they are too scared to step outside. “As a responsible healthcare organisation, we are taking stringent measures to prevent infections at every stage of the treatment process – not just for patients, but also for our staff members,” he says, trying to address the common fears that people have at this time.

If you need to visit a hospital, ask these three questions, and enter the hospital only if the answer to each of them is a ‘yes’.

1. Does the hospital screen people at all entry points?

Screening of every single person who enters the hospital premises for COVID-19 is of paramount importance and must be mandatory. A 24x7 team should be ready to run COVID-19 tests on all patients who have symptoms. Hand sanitisation is a must for everyone.

Screening of patients at an OPD clinic in MGM Healthcare before they enter the hospital.

At MGM Healthcare, a temporary outpatient block has been created – a screening area within the hospital campus – to screen all patients. If patients show no symptoms, then they are given a white band and allowed inside the main hospital building. If patients show symptoms like fever or throat pain, they are managed at the temporary outpatient clinic. At this clinic, doctors and a specialist will attend to the patients physically or via video call, depending on patient need and complexity.

2. Is there segregation of zones within the hospital?

Every hospital should have a safe zone and an isolation zone. Regardless of screening, reducing unwanted contact among patients and staffers is imperative. Strict physical distancing must be maintained in all places, even in the hospital pharmacy.

Segregation of zones within the hospital: Isolated clinics where patients are screened.

The Emergency Room in MGM Healthcare is split into a safe zone and an isolation zone, and each zone has a different entry and exit. In-patient admission wards are also segregated accordingly. This way, non-COVID patients will not cross paths or share areas with any patients who are suspected to have the coronavirus while receiving treatment.

“The wards in MGM are equipped with remote patient monitoring system, which can be accessed from anywhere inside the hospital.  This adds an extra layer of armour in protecting our patient and staff from infections,” says Dr. Sabanayagam, Senior Consultant at MGM Healthcare.

3. Do all medical staff have advanced protective gear?

All frontline medical workers and staffers in the hospital must wear PPEs (personal protective equipment), but that might not always be enough.

Doctors working in critical areas carrying out procedures on patients suspected of having COVID symptoms must wear extra-protective gear like PAPR (Powered Air-Purifying Respirators) that generate 100% filtered air. “This ensures that doctors and paramedics are 100% protected during a procedure which can potentially infect and make them carriers. PAPR is a high-end PPE and we are one of the very few hospitals to adopt such protective gears for our staff,” adds Mr. Manian.

Hospital staff at MGM Healthcare wearing the advanced PAPR suit during a critical procedure.

This might seem obvious to you, but also check if the hospital cleans its rooms and hallways regularly and efficiently, with appropriate cleaning materials. Hospitals that go the extra mile for cleanliness are the ones to trust. At MGM Healthcare, for instance, all common and critical areas such as lobby, lift, ICU and OTs are regularly cleaned. The rooms are fumigated after every patient vacates and robots are used to clean AC ducts.

Your safety is as good as the number of precautions the hospital takes.

There are many other precautions that hospitals like MGM Healthcare are taking, such as maintaining the highest standards of food safety, strict visitors’ policies and technology-enhanced payment transactions without physical contact.

“Robotics and AI-enabled IT interventions are going to change the healthcare experience moving forward,” says Dr. Prashanth Rajagopalan, Director, MGM Healthcare. “We are working on several novel concepts with our tech-partners to create an ecosystem which will enhance patient safety and security, and reduce human errors,” he adds, pointing to several new advancements like UV robots, thermal scanning robots, face recognition software for patients and staff, and mainline teleconsultations. He specifically also points to the first-of-its-kind Robotic ICU concept, where patients are monitored through devices which will collect data on real-time basis, and keep doctors and paramedical team informed. This reduces critical errors.

Remember, it’s not safe to delay medical treatment, especially in an emergency or semi-emergency situation. So, visit a hospital if you are unwell.  However, if you are 100% sure that you need medical attention but it is not an emergency, opt for Video Consultations, also available at MGM Healthcare.

This article was produced by TNM Brand Studio in association with MGM Healthcare.