If you are planning to visit the outpatient (OP) ward of Government Medical College Hospital (MCH), Kozhikode, this piece of information being circulated through social media for the past six months must have certainly aroused your interest.
“Now you can book an OP appointment with any doctor at MCH, Kozhikode, sitting at home and ensure better treatment. Those for from far-flung areas will no longer have to reach here early in the morning and wait for hours on end for an OP ticket. No need to skip your food standing at the counter...” This info has been carried on more than one Malayalam newspaper and numerous websites as news apart from social media platforms.
It is too good to be true as the hospital authorities say that the facility has not even been fully launched here.
Work under way
V.R. Rajendran, principal, said the project was part of the e-Health scheme of the State government, designed to provide centralised healthcare system. He pointed out that only works for the project, such as laying cables for office use and a survey, were under way now and were yet to be completed.
Sources in the Health Department said e-Health, an Aadhaar-based system, would help citizens have a unique identification number and a unique health record. They would be able to book appointment at any government hospital through a portal and walk in without carrying previous consultation records. Doctors would be in a position to provide personalised attention to the citizens and pharmacies and laboratories would also be automated so that the patients would have to wait for less time there.
The government is planning to involve 1,400 government hospitals, including medical college hospitals, within the system in phases. However, introducing the system at a hospital as big as Kozhikode MCH frequented by patients from across districts in Malabar was a humongous task that would take some time, said a senior official in the Department of Medical Education.
The number of people visiting the various OP wards in the hospital a day would be over 3,000 or more.
The work at the Institute of Chest Diseases was around 90% complete and the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) was on its way.
Almost half of the work was complete at the superspecialty block. In later stages, inpatient, billing, and lab will be linked to the unique identification number. The number once registered can be used at any section of the hospital in future. Meanwhile, a separate OP section too has been proposed under the Aardram scheme.
The new OP ticket system was launched at the IMCH a couple of months ago. Patients are given a new Unique Hospital Identity Number, which can be used lifelong for services at any government medical college hospital. Patients have been advised to furnish proper identification documents at OP counters.
“As and when the new system is fully in place, it will be a truly patient-friendly mechanism. The doctors will be able to access all the information related to a patient in one file,” said K.G. Sajeeth Kumar, superintendent at the medical college hospital.
Expressing the hope that the online system would be fully functional here soon, Dr. Rajendran said the Thiruvananthapuram MCH already had a system.