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Medical help at your service

tech-reviews Updated: Feb 16, 2010 19:48 IST
Highlight Story

A number of online and mobile medical units have sprung up to make healthcare available to those with hectic lives. The website Healthizen allows users to upload health details online.

The brainchild of Anand Anupam helps individuals upload their health records and then creates a unique health profile for the user. The site also suggests interventions using the health risks or conditions identified in the profile.

All in one
It monitors health parameters over time — such as calories consumed, recommended calories, BMI, body fat and calories burnt with the health calculators. In fact, even risks of back pain, diabetes, depression, stroke and heart attacks can be calculated.

“The site earns money through consumers who opt for our premium services. We also allow health brands to sign up with us and spread awareness of their products and services,” says Anupam.

He also plans to make the website accessible through the mobile phone soon. Apart from the software, the website also connects users with a panel of medical experts. Even without registering themselves on the site, individuals can refer their profiles to these doctors and receive responses based on their medical queries. The panel can also be approached for a second opinion.

First of it’s kind
Topdoctorsonline, India’s first healthcare online portal, was started to introduce rural and poor urban India to the best doctors in the country. The one-stop medical website offers people everything from insurance to details of chemists and hospitals in their city.

They also have a list of doctors, their areas of specialisation, health advice and pathology tests. The website also connects users to support groups and offers them expert opinions, basic medical information and options for free healthcare.

“The idea was to ensure that every one had access to good medical facilities. Most of our services are free and we only allow the best to join our network,” says Dr Akil Khan, founder of Topdoctorsonline.com.

The website also has an e-shop offering books, CDs, fitness equipment, beauty products and medical supplies. These are categorised according to the ailment and can be bought after consulting a doctor. There are also comprehensive city-wise listings of clinics, e-clinics and even the option to chat with a doctor online.

The website has also tied up with the Mumbai cyclothon to create awareness about cardiovascular disease. Dr Khan says, “To defeat this (heart disease) major killer is our primary objective. We also hope to revolutionise our population to become fit through cycling.”

Testing and diagnosis
Of the clinics and diagnostic centres that let patients access services at home, Thyrocare is the world’s largest thyroid testing laboratory. It offers patients medical services like sugar scans, health profiles and cardio profiles.

Some services need patients to visit a centre, but most are available at home at a low cost. “A few years ago, my father needed to get his blood test done, but he refused to go to a hospital. That’s when I approached them.

They were very helpful and they handled the situation beautifully. It was worth it,” says Ram Agarwal, a businessman. Most of our services are free and we only allow the best to join our network.

Mobile mammography unit a saviour for working women

During a trip to Boston in 2006, Geeta Advani and her doctor husband Suresh first spotted a mobile cancer clinic. Suresh, a cancer specialist, bought the city’s first mobile mammography unit in 2007 to start the NGO Helping Hand.

The couple focuses on breast cancer because most women only get diagnosed in the third and fourth stage, when early detection means simpler treatment.

On the move
The mobile unit travels around Mumbai, offering check-ups to corporates, housing colonies, schools and religious places. Awareness talks are organised after which the team registers patients.

The all-women team of one radiologist, technicians, a social worker and a nurse travels with the bus. Each patient is charged Rs 300 per screening, a nominal rate according to Geeta.

“We go back to organisations after a year and a half for follow-ups,” she says.

Saved
Of the 9,000 women they’ve examined, 22 were diagnosed with early onset breast cancer. “Suresh offers a free consultation for patients. If they can afford treatment, he continues to see them.

Otherwise, we raise funds for their treatment elsewhere.” The Advanis also hold free check-ups for women in slum areas.
Corporates are charged a minimum of Rs 25,000, a sum that goes towards helping the less fortunate.

And since the entire process of registration and check-up only takes ten minutes, the mammography bus has become a hit. “Women, especially professionals, are happy and often write back to us. They spend only ten minutes for such an important test.”