Transcript of iCliniq story from “Times of India”, Jun 7, 2012.
Dr G S Prabhudoss, a surgical gastroenterologist at the Chennai Apollo Hospitals has started consulting and giving appointments to patients using an internet portal. “This saves patients a lot of time, and it helps me organize my schedule better,” he says.
He is one of the 50 doctors who consults and fixes appointments online using ‘icliniq’, an online portal designed by Duruvak Kumar V S, an engineering graduate at Saibaba Colony.
“Though there have been several sites for telemedicine, most of them are based on email communication where there are several constraints. Ours is the first in India where a person can meet a doctor over the net like a regular consultation room. All this comes at an affordable cost,” he says.
Duruvak says that the portal eases the pressure on hospitals and doctors. “I started the portal four months ago. Ten hospitals and more than 50 doctors have registered in the portal. Around thousand patients are using it as of now. A patient can register and view the doctor’s profile. The doctor’s consultation charges are mentioned clearly.
Thus one can easily choose a doctor who is affordable. Patients can use the portal to avail virtual consultation or book appointments,” he says.
Dr Gokul Kriba Shankar, a general surgeon at the VGM Hospital, Coimbatore, says, “Two or three decades ago, if a patient went to a doctor with severe stomach pain the doctor would have to do some physical check ups. The response to prescribed medication was studied before making patients undergo tests. Now, with the introduction of many sophisticated tests this is not the case. We can say that around 70 percent of the diagnosis is done through tests and only 30 percent is done clinically,” he says.
Patients who have used it say they prefer it for many reasons. Arun Senthilkumar, (name changed on request), a resident of Singanallur who runs a software firm says that this gives him the advantage of privacy.
“There have been times, when I had to consult a psychiatrist. This gives an opportunity to consult a doctor sitting in my room. The treatment was as good as meeting in person,” he says.
Aditya B D, who works with a software company, says that he used the portal to consult a dermatologist. “The privacy it affords is the best selling point for me. An appropriate web camera helped my doctor get a clear picture. Moreover, the virtual consultation saved me the travel and waiting time,” he said.
“I post the times I am available to see patients. A patient can book his appointment according to his convenience. Moreover, one can avoid the annoying wait,” says Dr Prabhudoss.