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New TB Drug App Keeps Doctor Informed About Patients

To help aged patients, a new software to remind them when to take medicine has been developed by Apollo hospitals in association with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

The reminder is sent via SMS messages and voice calls as alerts to remind the patient and also tells them when they should attend the counselling session with their doctor.

Vikram Thaploo, CEO Apollo Tele Health Services (ATHS) said health care delivery is shifting from hospitals to patients in their own households.

“In a country like India where time is a rare luxury and health is a forgotten necessity we need quality healthcare expert 24 X 7 X 365. A holistic healthcare service provider who can monitor and manage health round the clock and is accessible at all times is the need of the hour,” he said about the need to provide round-the-clock healthcare.

Apollo Hospitals will soon launch a comprehensive healthcare app that can help users to access all medical information and connect with doctors from Apollo hospitals just at the click of a button.

Consultation service will be delivered through video conferencing, phone calls and emails and the patients will even have the option to connect to a board of specialist doctors via their mobile app.

“We have also tied up with the real estate leaders like TATA housing and other senior living projects to provide Telemedicine centres in all the projects they undertake,” he said.

This is more on the lines of TB self-help website called NIKSHAY, developed by the government’s National Informatics Centre (NIC) under the Revised National Tuberculosis Programme (RNTCP) to monitor case-based monitoring.

NIKSHAY covers various aspects of controlling TB using technological innovations. Apart from web based technology, SMS services have been used effectively for communication with patients and monitoring the programme on day to day basis.

Sunita Nareddy, a health expert pointed out that many patients stop taking medicine when they feel better but it makes the TB drug resistant. To avoid such problems, NIKSHAY helps local and national TB health activists and doctors to monitor the patients and their adherence to the drug schedule.

“The software will send everyday reminders to patients to take medicines. This is very important because in our experience, once patients start feeling better, they tend to discontinue medicines. This invariably causes complex drug-resistant TB,” Dr Nareddy said.

Currently, there is no communication in place to notify TB cases to government authorities and to track them if the patients fail to see the doctor. With no system of follow-up of cases, doctors are at loss and often the TB drug becomes resistant.

“The new software will address both these issues. The success rate for TB treatment is over 95 per cent. However, the adherence levels to the drugs are low,” said The Union’s project director Sarabjit Chadha.

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