A colon cancer patient, aged 59 years, hailing from Vashi in Mumbai, reached out to online cancer consultation platform Onco.com for timely assistance from a panel of experts, who undertook the entire process of finding an alternate hospital during the lockdown in just 48 hrs.
In a recent example of how tele-consultation proves to be a credible alternate source of medical consultation, a colon cancer patient from Mumbai, aged 59 years, successfully availed the service of online cancer care service provider Onco.com, in rescheduling a critical surgery. When the patient was notified by his local hospital of their inability to carry out a pre-scheduled treatment owing to the COVID-19 situation, he reached out to Onco.com, a leading specialized online cancer care provider for assistance and timely medical intervention.
With the help of a care manager at onco.com, the patient managed to get a date for his surgery at another hospital in Mumbai. However, as per protocol, the new hospital required the patient to produce a COVID-19 report before he could be admitted. The care manager then coordinated with a diagnostic chain for the collection of a blood sample from the patient at his home, followed by sharing the results with the new hospital overnight. Once the hospital verified and accepted the COVID-19 report, the care team arranged for an ambulance to transport the patient to the hospital without further delays and the surgery was performed. All this was accomplished in 48hrs, taking the patient from a point of no hope, to successful completion of his surgery.
According to Dr Amit Jotwani, “During this pandemic, when accessibility to specialized healthcare for ailments like cancer got restricted, telemedicine solutions have come to the rescue of patients making it possible for them and their caregivers to make life-saving decisions. This pandemic has helped society unravel the life-saving potential of telemedicine solutions in countries like India where a lot of patients are too late by the time they reach tertiary hospitals due to limited access to qualified medical professionals and infrastructure. We, at Onco.com, are trying to bridge the access and information gaps using technology to help cancer patients have better survival outcomes”.
According to Rashie Jain, CEO and Co-founder of Onco.com, “More than the geographical distances, or travel bans, what patients and caregivers seem most affected by during this pandemic, 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 confusion/chaos during this time. I am happy that our team was able to provide the right guidance and help them get started on their treatment despite all odds”
It is a known fact that lack of access to multidisciplinary cancer care leads to poor outcomes for many patients. As per the Global Survey of Clinical Oncology Workforce 2018, for every 10,000 cancer patients, there are only 1 to 5 trained oncologists in developing countries like India. The burden of cancer is increasing globally, and in India, an estimated 1.45 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2019 alone. Scarcity of oncologists and lack of accessibility to healthcare are key factors that contribute to the high mortality rates in India.
Just in the last 3 months, adoption of Onco’s Online Opinion grew by 53% in Tier-2 and Tier 3 markets, with a 35% growth in overall traffic to the site from non tier-1 markets. This is indicative of the Indian patients’ and the caregiver community’s acceptance of online consultation, which can significantly help them by lowering the burden of having to take multiple trips to the hospital in search of expert second opinions and a clear path of treatment. This is also visible from the 140% increase in digital consultations at Onco.com, during the lockdown.