Ranchi, India, Sept 6, 2022 - The ‘104’ toll free 24×7 telemedicine consultation service, run under Piramal Swasthya which was started by the Jharkhand government in 2014, has served more than 58 lakh persons since its inception.
In the past eight years, the service has also given out more than 40 lakh health advice, four lakh medical advice, and over one lakh counselling advice. The service was started to help ailing patients that were unable to go to clinics or hospitals or get help.
Notably, officials claim that the 104 service is a 24 x 7 contact center that aims to reduce the minor ailment load on the public health system by offering medical information and advice, virtually. Patients can avail counseling services, request directory information like list of hospitals and services offered and can lodge a complaint against any Public Health system facility.
When asked in this regard, its operation head Chayan Mukherjee said, "A beneficiary, anywhere in a given state, can dial 104 Health Helpline toll-free number through phone and connect to a health advisor and/or doctor who could address the health query through use of advanced medical algorithms and disease summaries accessed easily through medical health software while referring to patient’s Electronic Health record online."
Notably, when contacted, a health advisor attends the patients and asks them questions about their symptoms. He notes them down and forwards the call to the concerned doctor. The doctor once again asks specific questions to the patient, after which they are suggested the possible course of treatment and suggested to visit a doctor, depending on their symptoms.
This service, managed by Piramal Healthcare, has a total of eight doctors posted in the Ranchi call center. These doctors work in three shifts to provide counseling to the patients. It has a total of 75 call centre operatives that work as call centre executives. Apart from these, a total manpower of 120 people is required for the centre to function without glitches.
During Covid-19, the health department had also announced that any kinds of issues faced in any Public Health system facility, people could complain at the toll free service. This led to the centre handling complaints regarding supplies, service, quality, protection, pollution, infrastructure, hygiene and sanitation, food safety, facility, equipment, diagnostic, delays, corruption, and even behavior of personnel.
Explaining about these complaints, Mukherjee said, "We have real time grievance monitoring mechanisms where complaints are logged online and immediately transferred to the concerned district Civil surgeon. The officials then take action accordingly. Portal access is available for all districts, while the closure ratio of complaints is around 90 percent."
Apart from this, the service also provides several inbound and outbound services. Its inbound services include medical advice, health advice, counselling advice, directory information, health schemes, Covid-19 helpline, CDR & MDR, grievance redressal, Ayushman Bharat helpline and Covid vaccination helpline.
Meanwhile, its outbound services include IPD feedback, blood collection report, 108 ambulance service feedback, E-Sanjivani OPD, Ayushman IPD feedback, TB positive patient follow up, mental health follow up counseling and post Covid consultation.
Meanwhile, the state health department has announced the release of a new tender for the management of the telemedicine consultation service. When questioned in this regard, Mukherjee said, "It is true that a new tender has been taken out. Actually, the contract period with Piramal was that of five years."
"However, now that the contract has expired, a new tender will be taken out. We are also hoping to bid for the tender this time," he added.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, September 7, 2022
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