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Ramakanta Biswas

The Odisha Health department on Thursday directed all Medical Colleges & Hospitals, district headquarters hospitals, Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela Government Hospital to effectively use telemedicine to provide medical care to patients in view of skyrocketing Covid cases.

“In view of the present COVID-19 situation it has become essential to provide health services and advice by alternative means,” the Health department said emphasising the need for the telemedicine facility at this juncture.   

“The telemedicine facility will also reduce the OPD patient load by eliminating physical presence of OPD patients with minor ailments,” the department said in an order.  

The department said all Medical Colleges & Hospitals and District HQ Hospitals, Capital Hospital Bhubaneswar & RGH Rourkela are to make necessary arrangements by creation of 24 X 7 control room for coordination of telemedicine service activities and also by making roster arrangements from the pool of the faculties, specialists and Medical Officers in the hospitals to ensure the service. 

“A committee may be formed in each district and Medical College Hospitals, Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar and RGH, Rourkela headed by a nodal officer who will coordinate the telemedicine service provision as per the guidelines in the districts and/or hospitals as and when will be required,” the Health department wrote.  

“The WhatsApp numbers of the nodal officers and the service provider may please be kept in record at the control rooms for coordination,” it added.  

The Health department has also laid down Standard operational procedures (SOPs) for Telemedicine facility.

Some of the key points are:  

Timing & Different Modalities:

Telemedicine services in the three old Medical College Hospital (SCB MCH, Cuttack, MKCG MCH, Berhampur and VIMSAR, Burla), Acharaya Harihar Post-Graduate institute of Cancer and SVPPGIP, Cuttack will be available round the clock (24X7) and staff arrangement will be made accordingly.

In the 4 new Medical College & Hospitals (Balasore, Baripada, Bolangir & Koraput) & Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar & RGH Rourkela, the services will be available from 8 AM to 5 PM. 

For PHC-HWCs and UPHC-HWCs the timing will be as per the OPD timing i.e., 8 AM to 12 Noon and 4 PM to 6 PM.
The Telemedicine facility under DMHP to be continued actively on the specified time that is 8 AM to 5 PM.
The ongoing activity under e-Sanjeevani to be ensured as per the timing fixed.
The existing Mobile numbers (used for telemedicine) of Medical Colleges, AHPGIC, SVPPGIP, Cuttack , Capital Hospital, BBSR, RGH Rourkela and DHHs is annexed herewith for reference.

Control Room:

The Control Room in all Telemedicine Centres will run preferably in existing Telemedicine Centre using its computers using its computers and peripherals, internet system as well as furniture. The Telemedicine Technician already working there will provide technical assistance to the call Responders.

Role of Call Responder:

The call attending person will be preferably Nursing Officer/ Pharmacist/ Health Worker (M/F)/ Multi Purpose Health Supervisor (M/F) as per availability, as decided by facility in-charge. The list of such persons assigned with duty will be fixed and displayed at the beginning of the week in the notice board. Any change in the schedule should be done with judicious alternative arrangement and should be reflected much ahead to avoid dislocations.

There shall be at least two GDMOs and one Specialist/Consultant from each stream, on call, during a specific time. A duty chart of concerned GDMO/ Specialist/ Consultant with contact number (Mobile) will be displayed in the Telemedicine Centre, OPD and Office Chamber of the DMO-cum Superintendent. The concerned doctors will remain in readiness to attend the call. If sufficient number of doctors will available, then one doctor may also be deployed to the Telemedicine Centre exclusively to attend the call immediately. The concerned local authority can make suitable changes if sufficient numbers of doctors are not available.

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