eSanjeevani, the national telemedicine service set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has completed 7 lakh consultations today. The last one lakh consultations have come up in 11 days. This novel digital modality to deliver OPD services virtually has been rapidly gaining popularity. With over 10,000 consultations being recorded on eSanjeevani per day, it is shaping into the largest OPD services set up in the country.
An innovative intervention to deliver health services, eSanjeevani has started making impact in smaller towns and rural areas. While telemedicine is beneficial for the patients, it also is favourable for the doctors practicing telemedicine as it limits the contact with patients who are present virtually. eSanjeevani has removed the requirement of doctor to be at a specific location to provide services, it enables States specially the ones with large geographical area, to better management of their human resources. Through eSanjeevani, patients desirous of seeking medical consultations are placed in a virtual queue and upon their turn can see a doctor who is available virtually but present in another city. Each online OPD consultation generates an ePrescription which can be used to buy medicines or go for diagnostic investigations. States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have already issued government orders to ensure that ePrescriptions are honored.
Utilisation of eSanjeevani in States like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka has gone up significantly in the recent past. In Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Uttarakhand the utilisation of eSanjeevani has already been high and steady for past few months. The top ten States which have registered highest consultations through eSanjeevani and eSanjeevaniOPD platforms are Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India along with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (Mohali) is consistently enhancing the capabilities and adding new functionalities in eSanjeevani in consultation with State Administrations.
eSanjeevani supports two types of online consultation with general physicians and medical specialists, these are Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani AB-HWC) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations. The former variant was rolled out in November 2019 and it is an important pillar of the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme. eSanjeevani (AB-HWC) is to be implemented in all the 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres in a ‘Hub and Spoke’ model, by December 2022. States need to set up dedicated ‘Hubs’ in Medical Colleges and District hospitals to provide tele-consultation services to ‘Spokes’, i.e. Health & Wellness Centres (HWC). The Health Ministry rolled out eSanjeevaniOPD i.e. the second variant to enable patient-to-doctor teleconsultations in April this year during first lockdown when the OPDs across the country were closed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.