OPD – the place of healing or a new pain of long queues

OPD – the place of healing or a new pain of long queues

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It was Friday morning when Anmol woke up with severe headache due to insomnia. He had the office to reach at 11 and decided to visit one of the biggest public hospitals in East Delhi at 8 am in the hope of getting into consultation queue first and get back to office on time. 

He was astounded by the sheer amount of people early morning, waiting in multiple queues before him. Be it a new patient or someone coming for the simple followup; it was a perpetual crowd in front of him. Somehow he got his Token Number, which reads 153. He glanced at the token counter, “current token 25 it said”. He thought to have a cup of tea and walk in the park outside while waiting for his turn. At 9:30, he looked again at the token counter 120 it follows.

Finally, around 10:05, he reached the registration counter and tried to explain his problem to the clerk sitting there. He looks at the room number assigned to him,103, Neurology. As he walks inside the hospital and submits his papers, the guard informs him that the senior doctor is on leave. At 10:30, troubled by the long queue at the doctor’s gate and fear of being late for office, he decided to go back without meeting the doctor.

We all had such a moment in life with never-ending queues first for the registration, then for the consultation, and finally at the pharmacy for getting our prescribed medicines.

The amount of time a patient waits in OPD is one of the factors which affects patient satisfaction, access to care, health outcomes, trust, willingness to return, and hospital revenue.

For-profit hospitals had a lower waiting time of patients to ensure higher demand for their services by the economically better-off sections of the population.

Still, for a mere 15 min of consultation, a patient has to through different steps involving booking an appointment first, reaching the hospitals in 1-hour advance, and waiting in medicine queue again after getting the prescription. There are also cases when the patient gets to know the medicine being unavailable and had to go out looking for it, which wastes an extra amount of time and gives a new problem to the sick patient.

With the advancement in Healthcare technologies, some companies provide the solution for these hindrances and make the OPD experience simpler and convenient. One such example is mCURA: Smart OPD. Now more and more hospitals are adopting these technologies to make the overall OPD experience as pleasant, patient-friendly, efficient, and less time-consuming.