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Business-as-usual – ophthalmic care unit uses teleconsulting to tide over COVID-19 lockdown

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Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan

Overview

The customer is a not-for-profit missionary ophthalmic care unit, headquartered in Chennai. They have about 1000 employees and serve approximately 1200 patients per day, performing 100 surgeries per day.

There were about 3000+ surgeries that needed final follow up from the hospitals’ consultants. They had to cancel thousands of in-person appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were allowing only emergency patients to visit the hospital, and they suspended all non-emergency outpatient services and surgeries. However, the hospital did not want to leave their existing patients behind. They wanted to
serve them to the best of their ability and decided to implement the teleconsulting facility.

The biggest constraint they had was that they wanted the entire teleconsulting to be up and running in 48 hours. They got creative and put together things that would allow them to address the needs of their patients without any delay.

Teleconsulting helps address patient needs

They created a plugin on their hospital website for people to schedule appointments at all locations based on the consultants’ availability. While scheduling the appointment, the patients had the choice of using either Google
Hangouts or use teleconsulting over the phone.

This facility was available only for those who had their Medical Record Numbers. The consultants would be able to pull the patient records from the Electronic Medical Records using these numbers.

The hospital also sent an automated SMS and voice message to the patients who scheduled to visit them for surgery follow-ups and regular check-ups. These messages prompted them to schedule a teleconsulting session. Based on their acceptance, patients got their appointments scheduled with the consultants.

Appointment reminders were sent to the patient through voice messages and SMS messages. These messages reconfirmed the appointment with the patient or helped in rescheduling the appointments. This reconfirmation helped ensure that the consultants time was not wasted or compromised as no shows.

At times, when they want to see a clear image of the patient’s eyes, the consultants shared a YouTube video with the patients. The YouTube video clearly showed the patients how to take a clear picture of their eye conditions and mail it to the consultants.

All their voice communications were managed by a cloud call center service that would dial out the patient at the designated time and connect them with the consultant.

Every consultant had a dashboard view of their appointments – the patient’s name, MDR number, whether it is going to be a video consulting or telephonic consulting, etc. However, the consultants were making all their EMR entries
manually post-consultation by updating the patient case sheets at the end of the day. Currently, EMR integration is not available with the teleconsulting setup.

CTC’s role in teleconsulting

We provided them with the hipaa cloud-based call center infrastructure that allowed them to connect the patients to the consultants over the phone automatically without any secretary interface.

We also helped them do voice messaging, and SMS messaging using our VocalRx platform to schedule, confirm, and reconfirm appointments for teleconsulting. We also helped them in collecting patient feedback using VocalRx voice messaging.

We provide recordings of the teleconsultation provided by the consultants. The consultants add the recording as a part of the patient’s EMR records. Currently, we are working towards putting together a system that would have automated integration with their EMR and image capturing software. This integration would free up the consultants from making manual patient case sheets in the EMR, making this time available for additional consultations.

Read More: Healthcare Solution

Business Outcome

In 10 days, from the time of implementing teleconsultation, the hospital has consulted about 1200 patients on this platform. The numbers are only increasing, and this would probably become a norm going forward for follow-up
consultations.

Teleconsultation, as a regular practice, would allow the hospital to address the needs of more patients while offering them the convenience of seeking medical advice anytime and from anywhere.

About the Author: Uthaman Bakthikrishnan


Uthaman believes in the power of creation - it gives him a high to grow something from scratch and make it sustainable. Uthaman is the Executive Vice President and helps set the strategic direction and roadmap for ClearTouch, a pioneering provider of a cloud-based call center platform for enterprises, contact centers, BPOs, and financial services companies in India.