Cancer Patients Find Virtual Consultation a Boon in These Times of Crisis

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   May 14, 2020

HCG Cancer Hospital has enabled virtual consultation facility across its 24 hospitals in the country to continue the OPD operations during the lockdown

Early detection, screening, and diagnosis are very essential in cancer care as the patients are at a higher risk of infection than an average healthy individual, due to a weakened immune system that controls their body’s defense mechanism. The lockdown scenario across the country has increased the distress of cancer patients regarding their course of treatment, medications, commute, consultations, etc. In this condition, virtual consultation is a boon for patients, as they can access comprehensive care from the comfort of their homes.

A 41-year-old cancer patient from Mumbai said, “I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and was undergoing treatment at HCG from the past one year.My radiation procedures were mid-way when the lockdown was announced. We were worried about our further consultations, but their virtual OPD services came to rescue. The video calling consultation was similar to an actual face-to-face consultation where the doctor thoroughly examined my condition and the medical reports were shared online. Analyzing my condition, the next visit to the centre was planned, and further treatment procedures were planned. It would have been very difficult and stressful without the virtual consultations for cancer patients like me. I am grateful to the technology and the hospital for making this shift.”

Another patient from Bellary, Bangalore who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March this year said, “I was undergoing hormone therapy procedure at HCG Bangalore when the nation-wide lockdown was announced. It was a very panicking situation for me and my family because we had to travel a distance of 300kms, from Bellary to Bangalore for treatment. At this critical situation, the hospital introduced virtual OPD consultations, where I could afford quality healthcare services, at the convenience of my home saving me time, energy and stress of travelling.”

Expressing his view on virtual consultation Dr BS Ajaikumar, CEO and Chairman, HealthCare Global (HCG) said, “The coronavirus pandemic has up scaled the virtual care capacity and has spiked the number of virtual visits. Video-consultation can help the patients get their follow-ups with their doctor sitting comfortably at their home. Integrating virtual-consultations ensures accessibility and the continuum of cancer care to the patients. With technology, we can guide the patients on doing the right thing remotely and ensure they come to the hospital at the right time.”

HCG cancer hospital is the leading cancer care provider with 24 centres to its network across India. HCG has adopted the new feature Microsoft Teams, called Teams virtual visits, to ensure the patients continue to get the care they require from the comfort of their homes without risking their lives. Over 250 cancer patients, from across all the HCG centres in the country have been benefitted by the virtual consultation facility.

A surge in telemedicine and video-consultation is witnessed recently, post the lockdown imposed by the government. The doctor consults the patients over a video rather than in person, by reviewing their case history, imaging, and pathology reports. Once a visit is scheduled, the patient receives a customized email with appointment details and a link where they can join the virtual appointment. The virtual consultation is also beneficial to the doctors by providing them access to consult more patients without being exposed to the virus. A solution to any health-related problem will be administered by the specialist via a virtual consultation facility.

Speaking on the initiative Dr. Ayan Basu, Radiation Oncology, HCG EKO Cancer Centre Kolkata said, “Virtual consultation helps in addressing the medical requirements of cancer patients through a video conference call. For instance, a breast cancer patient scheduled for routine follow up with no new symptoms and is on hormonal therapy might temporarily postpone her hospital visit in view of the travel limitations as well as infection risk during the coronavirus outbreak. But the patient might still need to get her routine lab reports reviewed and a fresh prescription to continue her treatment. Such scenarios are ideal for a virtual consultation with the concerned oncologist helping both the patient and the hospital to avoid unnecessary risk and expenses”.

Dr. Supriya Bambarkar, Consultant Surgical Oncology, HCG ICS Cancer Centre, Mumbai said, “During the time of COVID-19 pandemic, patients suffering from the cancer is in major trouble. Cancer patients are always at a higher risk due to their compromised immune system and their treatment procedures cannot be delayed, as the rate of cancer progression is high. The virtual consultation facility started by the hospital is advantageous, which helps patients in seeking expert opinions and planning their further diagnosis and treatment. It also helps all patients with other ailments to reach out to doctors while practicing social distancing during the lockdown period.”

“Virtual consultation is excellent for a doctor and patients. The consultant is quite well known about the patient’s disease status, clinical condition, all investigation reports, and all treatment procedures from the first visit. The patient video consults the specialist, which helps them to gain confidence and share their symptoms, treatment medications, investigation reports, and other concerns without any hindrances,” said Dr. Ranajit Kar, Consultant Radiation Oncology, HCG Panda Cancer Centre, Cuttack.

Through the implementation of telemedical approaches to re-sequencing treatments, HCG cancer centres across the nation adapt to face the clinical challenges posed by the novel coronavirus 2019 disease.

About HCG Enterprises Ltd

Healthcare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG), headquartered out of Bangalore, is the largest provider of cancer care in India. Through its network of 24 comprehensive cancer centres spread across India, HCG has brought advanced cancer care to the doorstep of millions of people. HCG’s comprehensive cancer centres provide expertise and latest technologies in diagnosis and treatment of cancer under one roof. HCG has pioneered introduction and adoption of several technologies in the country and is amongst the first to introduce high-intensity flattening filter free mode radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery and robotic radiosurgery, in the treatment of cancer in India.

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