Going digital: Trial run for paperless OPD in four Uttar Pradesh hospitals - Hindustan Times
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Going digital: Trial run for paperless OPD in four Uttar Pradesh hospitals

By, Lucknow
Feb 25, 2024 04:55 PM IST

The Lok Bandhu Raj Narain hospital, along with Balrampur, Avantibai (women’s), and Jhalkaribai (women’s) hospitals, are piloting this paperless system for patients.

Instead of receiving a traditional paper outpatient department (OPD) ticket at Lok Bandhu hospital’s counter, you may find yourself surprised to receive a barcode or unique number. This unique identifier marks your participation in a digital OPD trial, a new initiative being tested.

Under this digital OPD system, doctors will open online prescriptions on their desktop computers, outlining necessary tests and medications. (FOR REPRESENTATION)
Under this digital OPD system, doctors will open online prescriptions on their desktop computers, outlining necessary tests and medications. (FOR REPRESENTATION)

Patients visiting four government hospitals will be among the first to experience this change, where barcodes or unique numbers will replace traditional OPD tickets. Under this digital OPD system, doctors will open online prescriptions on their desktop computers, outlining necessary tests and medications. This information will seamlessly transfer to pathology and pharmacy departments.

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The Lok Bandhu Raj Narain hospital, along with Balrampur, Avantibai (women’s), and Jhalkaribai (women’s) hospitals, are piloting this paperless system for patients.

“We will start this system in one OPD chamber. The aim is to find the hurdles, from both hospital and patient end, in implementing the system,” said Dr Ajai Shankar Tripathi, medical superintendent of the Lok Bandhu hospital.

Sharing the benefit for a patient under the new system Dr Himanshu Chaturvedi, medical superintendent of the Balrampur hospital said: “Even if paper documents, including prescriptions and diagnostic reports, go missing, we will still have records that can be recalled via barcode.”

“So, when the same patient comes for follow up and says he lost documents, the doctor can get his medical history on his computer screen,” said Dr Chaturvedi.

After addressing challenges in these hospitals, the model will be replicated statewide. “The concept is ready and soon the trial will begin. May be in the month of March,” said Dr AK Singh, director Balrampur hospital.

How will the system operate?

Upon arriving at the OPD ticket counter, the patient will provide either their ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) number or personal details including name, age, and address, along with their health concern. Based on this information, the staff will register the patient under a specific OPD, such as medicine, and issue a barcode or token number. This barcode will be scanned at the OPD, opening a computer page for prescription entry. If a token number is issued, it will serve the same purpose of opening the prescription.

Once the prescription is generated, it will be saved. The patient will then proceed to the pharmacy or diagnostic wing for medication or tests. Access to the patient’s record will be granted through the same process of scanning the barcode or entering the token number. Following completion, the patient’s record will remain available online for subsequent visits, including follow-ups.

Major challenges

With majority of the patients coming to government hospitals have little or no education about using smartphones, and even come from poor financial background. Using a smartphone could be a problem.

“After the entire process gets completed, the patient can still demand a prescription on paper from the pharmacy. If they (patient) are unable to run smartphone we will provide OPD prescription on paper. We won’t force patients to go paperless but motivate them to do so,” said Dr AK Singh, director Balrampur hospital.

According to statistics one in every three mobile users in Uttar Pradesh operates a smartphone, and India had over 100 crore mobile internet users in 2022. However, not all smartphone users, especially those in rural areas, are familiar with using apps or downloading PDF or Excel sheets for sending diagnostic reports or prescriptions.

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