Written by Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi | Posted: December 24, 2014 1:41 am
With patients from across the country and services stretched to the tipping point, online appointment systems in Delhi hospitals have not worked as well as expected.
In June, the Delhi government had introduced an online booking system for 24 hospitals which see the highest footfall. These include Lok Nayak, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Sanjay Gandhi Memorial hospitals.
According to Health department data, the hospitals received 804 online appointments in November and 713 in October. There were over 6,000 online appointment requests till November 25.
Health department officials said they were trying to integrate the software better to improve the system. “We are also planning new advertising strategies to popularise the system,” an official said.
AIIMS first introduced the OPD and then an IVRS system for telephone appointments. Doctors at AIIMS said almost 20 per cent of appointments in the hospital are taken online.
Dr Deepak Aggarwal, in-charge of computerisation at AIIMS, said real time updates to different departments and integrating the online appointments to the general system of the hospital had helped. “We are doing better than other government hospitals because we have integrated the online system… The online appointment will just give you a number in the queue, not a time,” he said, adding that most people who opted for the online system were from other states. Private hospitals, which have used the facility for a while, said international patients booked the most online appointments.
Since January, BLK Super Speciality Hospital has received 25 per cent of its appointments on its Online Appointment System (OAS). Dr. Mradul Kaushik, Director, Operations & Strategy at the hospital, said, “It is especially popular among international patients. The system is yet to pick up locally.”
In Gurgaon, hospitals are trying other options such as mobile applications for appointments. “The percentage of online registrations to calls received is less than 5 per cent in a month. People are still more comfortable to call for an emergency,” Dr Dilpreet Brar, regional director, Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) in Gurgaon, said. “We are planning a mobile app. We have also made our website more interactive,” she said.
Max healthcare’s centralised call centre for Delhi received 41,000 telephone appointments, against 6,690 queries on its website in November. “We introduced online bookings two years ago. But the system has picked up in the last few months,” Anas Wajid, chief of marketing at Max healthcare, said.