Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Himachal Pradesh on Thursday RD Dhiman on Thursday said citizens of the state can now consult government doctors though their mobile phone free of cost on all working days from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM.

He said the state government has started the services of tele-consultation during COVID pandemic so that the community could consult doctors from their homes.

Dhiman said this service was hosted on e-Sanjeevani OPD Portal of Government of India. Initially these services could only be accessed through laptop and desktop with webcam and speaker. Many people could not access this service due to non-availability of laptops / desktops.

“The state government had taken up this matter with the Government of India and suggested to develop an application by which the services of e-OPD can be accessed through a smartphone that is readily available with most of the community members. Now the application of e-Sanjeevani OPD is available on Google Play store and can be downloaded on any android phone. Any person can download the application and start a tele- consultation after registering in the application and obtaining a token,” he said.

The Additional CS said the doctors have been placed in the hubs situated in medical colleges of the state to provide the services of tele-consultation. There is a provision of generation of e-prescription which is valid both in Govt. health institutions as well as private chemist shops.

He said the state has also put up a system of tele- consultation from Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) of the state on e-Sanjeevani portal. As of now 307 Health Sub Centres –health wellness centres (HSC-HWC) and 454 Primary Health Centres –health wellness centres (HWC- PHC) have been connected to the three specialist hubs in medical colleges of the state in Shimla, Tanda and Mandi.

He said the hubs in the medical colleges provide specialist consultation in Medicine, Gynecology, Paediatrics ,Orthopedics, Psychiatry, Cardiology and Dermatology on a daily basis. He said the consultations for Neurology and gastro-enterology are being given on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday as per the roster.

Till date 31,243 tele-consultations for 25,514 patients have already taken place through this portal, which is highest among the states of India as per the latest data from Government of India.

Dhiman said the extensive network of tele- consultation in the state has resulted in reducing the congestion in the secondary and tertiary level hospitals and thereby mitigating the risk of COVID infection. “Moreover, people have started getting consultations from the comfort of their home or from the nearby Health & Wellness Centre thereby saving time as well as travelling cost of the patients,” he said.