AIIMS opens online / mobile appointments system for OPD services

People wishing to avail medical services at Out Patient Department (OPD) in AIIMS would now be able to book appointment of doctors online or through mobile phones, Jagran Post reported.

With the new 'IVR-Based appointment system', no human interaction would be required book an appointment from anywhere using mobile phone.

Patients with UHID (Unique Health Identification number) would be able to make appointments by dialling 09266092660.

"New OPD patients who want to visit AIIMS can pre-register themselves to avail its services through the website, following which they will be allotted a temporary UHID number," head IT and additional professor nuerosurgery AIIMS Deepak Agrawal said.

Patients would, however, need to visit AIIMS once for physical identification and get their permanent UHID number, through which they could later book their appointments through phone, he added.

The system is currently available in two languages, English and Hindi, and based on the lines of the railway booking system, there would also be a 25-per cent 'tatkal quota' for new walk-in patients for each department.

Starting 1 September appointment booking is compulsory for both old and new patients to ease overcrowding and counter queue-jumping.

According to AIIMS director MC Mishra, AIIMS had been catering to an ever-increasing patient volume and although the statistics seemed overwhelming, a lot could be done to improve patient care.

According to Dr Deepak Aggarwal, head of the IT cell at AIIMS, for appointments, patients could call 9266092660, select the department, give their choice of doctor, if any, and dates.

The pilot run of the appointment by phone started from 15 August with the hospital, on an average, getting 1,500 calls every day, The Indian Express reported reported quoting Dr Aggarwal.

He said the idea was to ensure that the number of patients visiting the hospital everyday was manageable. He added different departments give appointments to 80-200 patients a day and people do not jump queue.

However, under the online system, the waiting period for an appointment still continues to be long, sometimes dragging on for weeks. For instance, in the ENT department, the wait could stretch up to six weeks, while in dermatology, it could be up to three weeks.

According to Mishra, these were teething troubles, which had to be endured to ensure the ''culture of long queues for OPD appointments is done away with''.