Disasters and pandemics pose a great challenge to health care delivery for an already burdened healthcare system. When the whole world is fighting with an invisible enemy, there is a major shift in routine patient care. WHO declared COVID 19 as pandemic on March 11, 2020 . Many hospitals and practices had to cancel routine out-patients visits and out of necessity, most of the practices have been encouraged to use telemedicine as a method of continuity of care.
While writing this article, there were already 7,731,721 cases globally and 4,28,210 deaths . India had reported 309,603 cases and 8890 deaths . Pregnant women are the vulnerable population hence guidance and support through telemedicine will go a long way in reducing complications and timely intervention during this pandemic.
Known consequences of delayed access to healthcare due to lockdown and pandemic situation on pregnant women could be delay in identifying the warning signs, more maternal and neonatal deaths, less access to abortion facilities as patients are also scared to visit hospitals because of fear of contracting the infection. During these times telemedicine came as a boon for our patients when Govt of India and Medical Council of India released their new guidelines for use of telemedicine during this pandemic .
Our hospital telemedicine services came to our rescue and through our applications Apollo 247 and Ask Apollo we could serve a large number of women in need during this pandemic situation.
A total of 375 tele consults (single doctor experience) happened during 25th March to 31st May. The age range of patients who consulted via telemedicine were 18–60 years. 87% of patient who consulted through telemedicine were from a nearby location and 13% were outstation from remote locations or cities where nearby clinics and outpatient facilities were closed. The new patients who consulted for the first time constituted 27.5% of total consults, while follow up patients constituted 72.5% of the tele consults. (New patients mean they did not have any face to face consultation in the past 6 months and follow up patient had at least one face to face consultation in the past 6 months.)..Readmore