Teleconsultation has seen massive growth owing to pressing demand for digital access to doctors, medical services during COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for cancer patients
Onco.com recorded a significant jump of 140 per cent in its digital consultation services in the month of April 2020. Adoption of Onco’s Online Opinion grew by 53 per cent in Tier II and Tier III markets and saw a growth of 35 per cent growth in overall traffic to the site from non Tier I markets.
In under a month of its launch, ‘Call Onco’, the teleconsultation service launched by Onco.com saw an increase in adoption, owing to movement restrictions due to the lockdown and limited availability of doctors for in-person consultation, and were able to connect the patients with top oncologists in their network within a few hours.
Teleconsultation has seen a massive growth owing to the pressing demand for digital access to doctors and medical services during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for cancer patients, for whom delays in treatment can have severe consequences. Given its well-established network of over 1500 oncologists and 500 plus hospital partners, Onco.com has been able to support close to 10,000 patients each month by working very closely with oncologists and hospital partners to ensure continuity of care towards cancer patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Call Onco, cancer patients and caregivers have been able to get advice from oncologists through a telephonic call or video conferencing, for queries ranging from their current treatment status, diagnosis, and precautions against COVID-19. Additionally, for patients looking for detailed treatment advice, Onco.com also offers a premium online opinion service called Onco Tumour Board, where patients and their caregivers can get detailed treatment advice in the form of an online report from a multi-disciplinary panel of senior oncologists. Every patient who opts for the tumour board service gets a complimentary Call Onco service as well and they can schedule the call after their report is shared. The online opinion service has also seen a significant increase in adoption across Tier II and Tier III markets, owing to the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cancer treatment during the lockdown has been difficult and requires close coordination between multiple medical services, scheduling appointments, and coming up with solutions to innumerable problems that crop up along the way. With the rise of COVID-19 cases in India and the subsequent lockdown enforcement for the safety of the larger public, there were a number of patients who found it difficult to get the medical help they required. Onco.com was able to connect them with right oncologists despite hurdles and could maintain continuity of care through local centres.
Rashie Jain, CEO and Co-Founder, Onco.com, said, “In these unprecedented times, we have a singular goal – we want to ensure that every single patient receives the treatment that they require and gets the most relevant advice from experts no matter where they are. More than the geographical distances, or travel bans, what patients and caregivers seem most affected by is the lack of information on what alternatives are available to them when their current treatment is delayed or put on hold. There is a lot of uncertainty right now and we are doing every bit so that cancer patients feel safe and connected with our oncology ecosystem at all times whether or not they can travel.”
“We are working in tandem with our oncologists and hospital partners to ensure continuity of care towards cancer patients. In addition, every cancer patient at Onco.com is assigned a dedicated care manager who engages with them throughout their treatment journey,” added Jain.
Dr Amit K Jotwani, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Onco.com mentioned, “Cancer patients have been worst affected by the present COVID crisis. Given that most cancer patients in India are diagnosed in advanced stages, the window for a positive outcome is limited and they cannot afford to delay treatment. As we see a relatively lower COVID-19 infection rate and case fatality rate compared to western countries, it also indicates that the risks to cancer patients in India are not as high and we can still continue their treatment as the risk of cancer progression is a concern.”
“We firmly believe that teleconsultation is the way forward in the healthcare industry in India. Onco.com is contributing to this nation-wide effort by providing a solution for cancer patients and their caregivers to reach out for the best cancer care consultation, diagnostics, and treatment available in the country today. In addition, Onco’s virtual Tumour Board service allows patients to get advice from a multidisciplinary panel of esteemed oncologists who work together to review a case online and develop a detailed report. The report offers advice on cutting edge treatment solutions relevant to them and also addresses any other question that the patient or their family have with regards to their treatment.”
Additionally, for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers stuck at home during the lockdown, Onco.com’s community initiative, Talk Your Heart Out (TYHO), provides the much-needed support to battle the situation. Here patients and caregivers can connect online as a support group. “Even amidst the lockdown, we have been able to conduct this online and the response has been phenomenal. Onco.com also offers a peer-to-peer support service called Onco Warrior, connecting patients with survivors to help guide them through the journey, both mentally and emotionally.” said Jain. A step towards building a community of cancer fighters, TYHO has been an easy and effective way to socialise and lessen the feeling of loneliness and isolation that the lockdown has brought about.