Need for a two-pronged approach for COVID & non-COVID patients: Dr Niraj Uttamani

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Dr Niraj Uttamani

How the healthcare industry has been witnessing a transformative change since the onset of COVID? How to keep afloat during the COVID crisis? And, what is the way forward? These were a few discussion points highlighted by Dr Niraj Uttamani, Medical Director, Holy Family Hospital, Bandra, Mumbai at the India Transformation Summit organised by Elets Technomedia.

Dr Uttamani owned his address with a few statistics saying, “The growth rate has slumped to 3.1 per cent. The COVID pandemic has induced market instability and post-lockdown the unemployment has ascended from six per cent to 26 per cent. Industries like tourism, hospitality, has suffered worst, government revenue has reduced significantly. As per CRISIL, India is facing its worst economic crisis post-independence and GDP has reduced by 40 per cent.” All this has resulted in an unstable environment even for the healthcare industry, he added.

“It is being said that the recovery from COVID would be a ‘V’ shape recovery wherein the meeting point of the two arms is a vaccine. Also, the other arm will recover in a sea-shore manner i.e, there will be a recovery then again a few cases will pop up then again it wi recover and this trend will follow for a longer period of time”, underlined Dr Uttamani. Healthcare industry has to come up with absolute new innovations to cope up the challenges what we are facing like a patient’s confidence to visit the hospital, added Dr Uttamani.

Speaking on the measures taken by the Holy Family Hospital, he said, “Here at  Holy Family Hospital we have segregated the COVID and the Non-COVID sections and this had been possible because we had separate buildings.  However, not all the hospitals will have that facility to leverage. So there is a need to come with measures like telemedicine which would help at least a certain group of patients, while, for those who cannot use telemedicine there is a need to devise a mechanism to aid them. An example could be keeping separate time slots or different locations, and other such solutions.”

The healthcare industry must focus on taking a two-pronged approach for both COVID and non-COVID patients. And, devise out mechanisms for both the sections keeping in mind proper segregation to prevent community transfer, Dr Uttamani pointed out.

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In context t motivating the doctors and other medical personnel to serve in the best manner possible, Dr Uttamani said, “The first and foremost are the seniors or institutional heads and they should step up and set an example for the entire fraternity. The second part is doctors are not content of having money or increments but they feel content with recognition. So, the heads and the seniors can have meetings recognising the work of all those at the frontline.” Additionally, the working conditions, their accommodation or the resting place should be good enough. The issues they face for travelling to and from hospitals, especially in lockdowns should be resolved. To address this, Holy Family Hospital started a special bus service to ferry those doctors who are not staying at the hostel facility of the hospital, added Dr Uttamani.

Wrapping his session’s address, Dr Uttamani said, “Hence, we need to take good care of or doctors, nurses and paramedic staff. Also, taking an innovative approach is needed to serve the cause like a central station can be made from where a nurse can monitor the COVID patients and this can reduce the contact. So, there is a need to redefine our work and adapt to newer and better ways to not only keep afloat in the crisis but to deliver services effectively keeping our staff safe and motivated.”

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