Virtual consultations cannot replace hospital visits Suresh Ramu Co-founder and CEO Cytecare Cancer Hospitals


In the past and a half years, healthcare has evolved online. From diagnostic tests to check-ups and dispensing drugs, Indians are increasingly comfortable accessing medical services with the click of a button. Does this mean hospitals will disappear in the post-pandemic world? Will patients never return to physical health care facilities?

“While it is true that there has been a dramatic increase in the uptake of online consultations since the Covid-19 epidemic, in recent months we have seen a majority of patients return to in-person consultations. at the hospital, “says Suresh Ramu, co-founder and CEO of Cytecare Cancer Hospitals in Bangalore.

As the leading cancer care hospital, Cytecare saw diagnoses and treatments delayed during the pandemic simply because people couldn’t get to hospitals. Annual health checks and screening tests for suspected cancers have been postponed; cancer treatment adherence and follow-ups were lower.

However, experts expect virtual consultations to continue to be a valuable tool to help bridge the yawning healthcare gap, even after the pandemic has ended. “It is extremely valuable for patients to have easy access to a variety of medical specialists from the comfort of their homes, especially in the case of follow-up visits or a second opinion,” adds Ramu.

The ability to offer remote consultations has helped hospitals deliver intensive care and reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, while dealing with limited hospital resources. Virtual consultations have helped patients as well as doctors to improve adherence and quality of care, despite the global crisis.

Yet, given that expertise for cancer diagnosis and treatment is currently concentrated in hospitals, and this too in urban centers, it is natural for patients to return to hospital for timely diagnosis and treatment. quality care.

Same, but better

In many ways, the pandemic has instilled a more systematic sense of functioning in the healthcare sector. From offering hassle-free online appointment booking and payment links to reducing administrative delays and providing electronic health reports, the patient experience in hospitals has fundamentally become more positive.

“Waiting times in hospitals must be optimized for patients. Small steps, such as meeting scheduled consultation deadlines, can make a huge difference to the patient experience, ”says Ramu, adding that the patient experience and patient satisfaction go hand in hand.

At Cytecare, the patient journey is guided by empathy and care. The hospital – ranked among the highest in the country in terms of patient-centered care – holds family reunions to help patients and their loved ones better understand the disease and its prognosis.

Likewise, psycho-oncology and counseling sessions, as well as mind-body wellness programs, including yoga, not only help promote acceptance of the diagnosis and treatment, but also stay highly compliant and provide better clinical outcomes for patients.

“We also have a unique concept of pivot patients, who are cancer survivors, available to counsel and talk to patients and their families. They provide the right advice as well as hope for cancer patients, ”says Ramu.

Interestingly, architecture and design also play an important role in delivering a patient-centered experience. Thoughtful design, intuitive processes, and smart technology that inspire a sense of privacy, security and comfort go a long way in making patients feel comfortable in a hospital setting.

“Cytecare was designed to bring the clinician or clinical team closer to the patient rather than asking the patient to move around,” says Ramu. “Aggregating so many similar departments on the same floor or next to each other is a simple way in which hospitals can become more patient-centered,” he added.

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