Tata Memorial Hospital
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A low-cost online service run by Tata Memorial Hospital doctors has helped 10,799 patients from 22 countries get a second opinion on their cancer diagnosis and a treatment plan without visiting the hospital in three years.
A survey of about a 1,000 of them showed that as much as 78% of them went on to receive treatment according to the expert's opinion. The doctors presented their experiment with Navya, the online service, at the prestigious American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting on June 5.
“There is a scarcity of on cologists in the world. Patients in non-urban areas have poor access to evidence-based treatment decision and worse outcomes. In India, there are 1,600 oncologists for 1.8 million patients and the lack of expertise translates into sub-optimal and expensive treatment decisions,“ said Dr C S Pramesh of the cancer hospital.
The survey revealed that 72.3% interviewed patients shared the expert opinion with their treating oncologists. And, 78% of the patients got treatment based on expert's recommendations.
The demand-supply gap in cancer treatment is obvious from the fact that the Parel hos pital gets thousands of patients every day from across the country . To plug this gap, the hospital joined hands with Navya in 2014 to provide online second opinion so that patients and their families don't have to travel thousands of kilometres for an opinion. A fee of Rs 6,000 is charged for using the service. The doctors don't charge for an opinion, the fee is for daily operations.
At present, 90 doctors from the Department of Atomic Energy-supported National Cancer Grid (NCG) are experts on the Navya panel. Around 100 hospitals that provide cancer treatment across the country are part of the grid.