IMA asks doctors to avoid consultations on phone, Whatsapp

The Indian Medical Association, the largest body of allopathy doctors in India, has advised doctors to not prescribe medicines over the phone. The IMA has issued an advisory to all its members to refrain from having WhatsApp and telephonic consultations

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  • The IMA’s directives have come in the lieu of Bombay High Court’s order, where the court had not granted bail to a Ratnagiri based doctor couple, on the grounds that the doctor had committed a grave mistake by prescribing medicines over the phone

Doctor, I am suffering from a stomach pain, can you suggest some medicine? Please doctor, I don’t have time to come and see you. Please advise me over the phone.

Nowadays, this is a normalised practice among people. A number of people avoid meeting their doctor in person and consult the doctor over the phone or via Whatsapp. But, from now onwards, your family doctor will not prescribe you the medicines over the phone or Whatsapp. He might say, sorry, but no phone consultation, please come and see me in person.

The Indian Medical Association has issued an advisory to all its members in a wake of the HC order, to offer medical solutions via Whatsapp or phone consultations.

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While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Shivkumar Utture, a member of IMA said, “The IMA has issued an advisory to all the doctors not to prescribe medicines over the phone. The doctor should prescribe medicines after doing a thorough check-up of the patient. So do not giving medicines on the basis of the symptoms explained by the patient on phone, as it will benefit both the doctor and patient.”

The advisory was issued by the Indian Medical Association on Friday to all its members across India.

Dr Rajashree Katke, Medical Superintendent of the Mumbai’s state-run Cama Albless hospital said, “Doctors should do a thorough examination of the patient before prescribing the medication. When a patient comes to the doctors, the doctor can diagnose the illness properly and then give the medicines. Patient meeting the doctors is a form of evidence as well. So, I welcome the decision taken by the Indian Medical Association.”

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Niranjan Chavan, joint secretary of Mumbai obstetrics and gynecological society, attached to Mumbai’s civic-run Sion hospital said, “The Indian Medical Association has taken a very good decision. A number of patients send me their X-ray and ultrasound reports. But, I explain them to come and meet me. This will benefit the patients. Doctors giving medicines on the phone or on Whatsapp is wrong. Without physically doing a check-up of the patient the doctor should not prescribe the medicine.”