PGI OPD footfall doubles in 2 years : The Tribune India

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PGI OPD footfall doubles in 2 years

27 lakh patients visited medical institute last year as against over 14 lakh in 2021

PGI OPD footfall doubles in 2 years


Tribune News Service

Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, March 24

The Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here has witnessed a staggering surge in its outpatient department (OPD) footfall, raising concerns about the strain on healthcare facilities and the urgent need for deployment of additional staff.

The fallout

  • The surge exerts immense pressure on various departments, significantly impacting patient care and service.
  • The increase in OPD patients overwhelms the existing workforce, leading to challenges in providing timely and comprehensive care to patients.
  • The shortage of faculty members in several critical departments hinders optimal patient care.

Plan to reduce queues

  • Queue Management System (QMS) module will reduce patient queues outside OPD rooms and it will also generate tokens for queue management in the Hospital Information System
  • Option of self-printing of OPD cards for new patients and self-stamping for revisiting patients
  • Patients using online registration will be incentivised to reduce walk-ins
  • Online registration of the patient (new and revisiting) through mobile app
  • Electronic prescription of medicines and its dispensing through e-pharmacy

Manpower requirement flagged

  • A total of 32 departments had requested for creation of 182 posts of assistant professor to manage the rush. The agenda was tabled during the Standing Academic Committee meeting held last year
  • Four departments raised serious concerns over the escalating workload on senior residents, leading to mental stress and suboptimal patient care. They collectively demanded the creation of 51 new posts of Senior Resident (SR) to reduce the burden
  • PGI requested for 17 laboratory attendants in the Standing Finance Committee meeting last year

Solutions in works: Prof Lal

The OPD rush will be managed with queue management system and many other features. We are also looking at increasing manpower resources so that the patient load can be handled effectively. — Prof Vivek Lal, Director, PGIMER

According to data available, the OPD footfall at the PGIMER skyrocketed from 14,23,487 in 2021 to a remarkable 27,05,020 last year, marking an unprecedented 90% increase. The surge exerted immense pressure on various departments, significantly impacting patient care and service.

Key departments experiencing a major increase in OPD footfall include anaesthesia (150%), cardiology (107%), dermatology (167%), endocrinology (124%), gastroenterology (110%), orthopaedics (177%) and plastic surgery (116%). The surge has overwhelmed the existing healthcare workforce, leading to challenges in providing timely and comprehensive care to patients.

The shortage of faculty members across several critical departments, including anaesthesia, endocrinology, gastroenterology, gynaecology and neurosurgery, has exacerbated the situation. These departments are struggling to meet the growing demands of the increasing patient population, hindering optimal patient care.

For instance, the Anaesthesia Department, which is responsible for patient care at over 72 locations, is operating with a faculty strength that falls significantly short of the required number.

With an increase in patient visits and investigations, the Endocrinology Department has witnessed a 10-fold jump in workload over the years. Despite handling over 25,000 investigations per month, the department struggles with a shortage of assistant professors, hampering its ability to meet the growing demands of patients.

The Gastroenterology Department has experienced a 110% rise in patient numbers, coupled with the introduction of advanced procedures, leading to an exponential increase in workload. The complexity of interventions such as magnification endoscopy and complex stent placements has further strained the department’s resources. The department has seen a significant rise in patient visits, deliveries and major surgeries, translating into a 90% increase in outpatient visits and a surge in surgical procedures. The department requires additional faculty members to manage the growing workload effectively.

Operating across multiple areas, including Emergency, operation theatres and trauma centres, the Department of Neurosurgery is struggling to handle patients due to staff shortage. With the existing workforce stretched thin, the department is finding it challenging to provide services effectively in all areas.

On the ever increasing patient rush at OPDs, Prof Vivek Lal, Director, PGIMER, said, “We are constantly upgrading our facilities as Hospital Information System 2.0 is in the offing. It is expected that the OPD rush will be managed with queue management system and many other features that will be offered for streamlining the OPD rush. We are also looking at increasing manpower resources so that the patient load can be handled effectively.”

In response to the burgeoning patient influx surpassing 10,000 individuals daily at the hospital, an urgent directive was issued stressing that faculty members must be present at their respective OPDs no later than 9.15 am.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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