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New Delhi: Soon patients will not need to wait in queues to meet a doctor. At least 70 government hospitals across the country will soon offer the facility of seeking online appointment for consultation.

Online registration system (ORS), one of the government’s flagship e-governance projects, allows patients to fix an appointment online by simply sharing their Aadhaar number on the project’s website.

The system was initially launched in 2014 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, as a pilot project.

The scheme is now open for all the government hospitals, wherein the hospitals can register themselves on the system and start offering the online appointment service.

As of July, 71 requests have been received from different hospitals all over the country, said Dr. Ajay Kumar, additional secretary, Department of Electronics and IT.

About six-seven lakh out-patient department (OPD) registrations have been done on ORS so far, Kumar added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government last year launched ORS, allowing patients to book an appointment, pay fees, view diagnostic reports and check blood availability on a single online portal.

Patients who make online OPD appointment automatically receive an SMS regarding confirmation of the appointment and also get a reminder about their upcoming visit to the hospital. They also have the option of cancellation.

The application is one of the many services launched under the Prime Minister’s Digital India initiative in July 2015.

The government has also enlisted state agencies to help bring state hospitals on board the platform.

“This is one of the successful applications of National Informatics Center which we have been able to implement across the country and this will become an example for other countries also," Kumar said.

However, the scheme faces its own set of challenges as government hospitals are already under pressure.

“There are many challenges to this scheme as many people who make appointments don’t turn up," said a doctor at AIIMS, who declined to be identified.

“Also it is difficult to assign appointments online, when so many poor patients wait outside for treatment here," said the person.

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