"We felt compelled to help India"
The virtual health service is gaining popularity in India as people are helpless and trapped in their houses amid Covid-19.
Taking advantage of the technology, Indian doctors in the UK have also come forward to extend their support to the needy in India.
The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) has recently launched a virtual hub for tele-triage with Indian colleagues and patients.
The national chairman of BAPIO, Dr JS Bamrah said:
“You do feel a bit helpless (in the situation) and we wondered what is it that we could do.
“We thought the best way to do it would be to offer resources.”
The national secretary for BAPIO, Professor Parag Singhal is leading the telemedicine virtual hub.
He explained that they have planned to set up teleconsultations with hospitals across India.
Medics in Britain will help Indian doctors with CT scans and help with less serious cases through virtual ward rounds.
He mentioned that the doctors in Britain will also help and assist patients in a home setting.
Regarding this act of kindness, Professor Singhal said:
“We felt compelled to help India because our colleagues (in India) are exhausted, they can’t cover so many patients and these patients need care.
“Any extra help in the form of advice is good for them and people in India are so grateful for what we are doing.”
Virtual health consultations offer many possibilities and provide immediate benefits to both the patients and medical professionals.
- They provide access to the medical care they otherwise unavailable to them.
- They lift the unnecessary burden from hospitals and clinics.
- This system is cost-effective as both doctors and patients can interact remotely.
- Patients are getting remote care, diagnosing, monitoring and advice while staying safe at home.
- Healthcare professionals can help patients even if they are quarantined at home.
- They increase the safety of citizens and medical care practitioners by providing care from home.
- Health professionals from all over the world can help India, despite the distance.
Dr Abhay Chopada, a fellow BAPIO member, has been giving online consultations to patients (with Covid-19 symptoms) in India.
Providing patients with medical advice means that they are less likely to take unnecessary trips to hospitals.
This ultimately reduces the load from the Indian doctors. Dr Chopada explained:
“I’ve managed to speak to patients who were concerned about their health but after consulting with them, I realised they did not have to go to the hospital.
“So, in a very small way, I’ve felt I could reduce the burden, at least partially.”
Dr Chopada explained that many people with Covid-19 symptoms in England didn’t go to the hospital and recovered at home.
He wants patients in India to do the same, adding:
“Having Covid doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go and see a doctor or be in a hospital.”
“It just means that you need to monitor certain parameters and most people will be fine.
“They just need someone who’s available for them to talk with and reassure them.”
The BAPIO has also begun fundraising for food and medical equipment apart from virtual health consultation.
Considering the difficult times of the pandemic and the technological advancement, there is no doubt that telemedicine is a bright future in India.