OPD Full Form is Out Patient Department. OPD is an essential part of a hospital designed for outpatients to meet with the doctors and consultants in their clinics. It normally has consulting rooms that are facilitated with treatment tools, rooms, nurse stations, waiting area, etc. In general, OPDs do not have facilities to admit a patient. This is more of a consulting place for small ailments and related issues. Treatment at OPD does not cost much as it does not involve any complicated procedure.
OPD usually includes following treatments like Wellness or prevention programs like weight-loss programs, counseling for various health issues, A diagnosis like scans, lab tests, x rays, etc., Treatments like chemotherapy or minor surgeries that do not require major medical attention. Rehabilitation like physical therapies and drug/alcohol rehabilitation, etc.
Every individual needs medical care at some point in life. However, it is not necessary to get admitted to a hospital if the nature of the health issue is not grave and can be treated easily. Under such circumstances, the patient is treated in OPD or Out Patients Department.
OPD Full Form – Additional Information
Outpatient Department is the department of the hospital where outpatients or patients that do not need overnight stay as inpatients are checked and treated. This area is always closer to the in / out area of the hospital and has other medical facilities like pharmacy, X-ray, ECG, sonography / scan, pathological lab, waiting rooms, treatment rooms, etc within its zone.
It is said that the OPD is the mirror of the hospital and the impression that you form there reflects on the image of that hospital. This is the most frequented area of the hospital, as many patients come in for minor ailments or small surgeries that may require only the day’s stay.
In an OPD, there are medical services available to specialists too and they are available for consultation with prior appointments or as per the doctor’s hospital visit schedules. This is the place where the people come in the first contact with the hospital staff, as usually most of the inpatient admissions are also done through the OPD.
Since the first impression is the last and lasting impression, it is imperative that the OPD staff project a good image. They should be cordial, with a lot of patience to hear out the patient’s medical history, be cheerful and extremely polite. They should be cooperative and efficient enough to handle minor emergencies.
Functions of OPD
There are various objectives and functions of OPD.
- To provide specialized medical consultation to the patients with the help of hospital resources like X-ray, pathology lab, scanning, etc.
- To perform minor surgeries which do not need overnight hospitalization (surgery for cataract, hernia, etc)
- Promote health care through health education to patients under post-operative care.
- Provide medical care after discharge and recommend follow-up care.
- Offer preventive health care like vaccination, polio dose, etc.
- Facilitate early diagnosis with specialist consultation and extend preventive, curative and rehabilitative supervision.
- To prepare records of patients for future reference and analysis of their medical history.
- To offer to train to house physicians, nurses, medical students and lab technicians in varied medical experiences.
- To offer counseling for family welfare, bringing up a healthy baby as well as family planning and marriage counseling.
Even though it is not essential for the outpatients to have an overnight stay in the hospital, there may be some cases where it is deemed necessary such as cases of blood transfusion, minor surgeries where the patient shows slow signs of recovery and needs to be kept under observation, etc.
Particular preventive and normal OPD services
A doctor’s duty is to educate the people about health care as much as he undertakes the responsibility of diagnosing and treating their ailments.
The services rendered by OPD are:
- Walk –in services for patient care.
- Extending modern techniques for diagnosis and cure.
- Creating a conducive environment for patient’s comfort.
- Controlling transmissible diseases by early detection (like VD, HIV, etc) and providing protective measures.
- Timely diagnosis of non-infectious diseases and preventive measures of controlling them.
- Counseling for marriage and planned pregnancy as well as care tips for a healthy baby.
- Well baby clinic with provisions for antenatal care and immunization, etc.
- Alertness about infectious diseases and reporting it to health authorities to prevent further spread.
- Giving health education to enlighten people about cleanliness and good habits.
- Explain the importance of balanced diet and nutrition for a healthy living.
It is important for every individual to understand the finer issues involved in leading a fit life and be stress, tension and disease free. The medical practitioners in the OPD educate the patients to take care of their health, as they perform the task of healing them. A well equipped OPD is that which has medical facilities and machines needed for diagnosis (X-ray, scan, sonography) under one roof.
Working method of an OPD
There are two types of OPD services – Centralized and Decentralized. Centralized services indicate that the medical, as well as therapeutic facilities, are located in the same place for easy and quick movement. Decentralized services mean such facilities are provided in particular departments.
There are three categories of outpatients – General, Emergency and Referred.
- General outpatients are the ones who come for normal, non-emergency consultation.
- Emergency outpatients are the ones in need of critical medical care or whose conditions are diagnosed as an emergency.
- Referred outpatient is the one who has been referred to the OPD for a particular detection or treatment procedure by his usual medical practitioner or dentist.
Under any circumstances, it is the responsibility of the OPD and its staff to see that the patient is well attended to and the best medical facility and support is extended to him. The patient can be there for reasons like an X-ray, ultrasound procedure, pathological facility or just consultation for sickness.
Normally, the reception and registration area is where the outpatient is registered and his medical background is noted for the reference of the consulting specialist. Then he is directed to the particular section where the specialist equipped with diagnostic machinery is ready to attend to him.
These registration details are maintained in a database for future reference and the medical data helps in analysis and treatment. This also gives an insight of the progress or otherwise in patient’s condition, when the person comes on next visit.
Layout of an OPD
An OPD is the first place where a person walks in when he visits a hospital. Thus, the OPD should be easily accessible, close to the main gate and have proximity to the main road. There should be ample scope for expansion of units as the need arises. The OPD should be within the vicinity of technical facilities like radiology and pathological lab. Each specialty examination room should be well equipped with relevant machinery needed for the purpose.
An ideal consultation cum examination room has a work desk, examination couch, chairs for waiting, physician’s desk, revolving stool, wall mounted cabinets for files and medicines, wash basin, instruments trolley and an x-ray viewing box. It also helps to have the emergency equipment to revive the patient in case of sudden collapse.
The central public area of the OPD is usually the registration and reception area. Since patients and relatives wait here for a long time to complete various registration procedures (subject to the rush in OPD), it is advisable to take care of their comforts and basic needs.
Thus, it is essential to have a snack counter / canteen, drinking water and washroom as well as adequate seating facility in the public area. Along with examining facilities (pathology, radiology, ultrasound), there should be a pharmacy to obtain medicines prescribed by the doctor. An OPD is a place which is more frequented than the other departments of a hospital and, therefore, it should be a place where a patient feels comfortable and assured.