Forget national rollout, mental health portal not a success in Karnataka yet

While Sudhakar batted for launching the portal at the national level, a reality check shows that the portal has a long way to go in Karnataka itself
Last Updated 10 May 2022, 08:51 IST

Speaking at the Health Ministry's 'Swasthya Chintan Shivir' in Gujarat on Friday, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar batted for launching Karnataka’s e-Manas portal at the national level.

But a reality check shows that the portal has a long way to go in Karnataka itself.

The 'Chintan Shivir' was attended by health ministers from all states. Sudhakar represented Karnataka.

e-Manas is an online mental healthcare management system. It was launched by the then chief minister B S Yediyurappa on June 26, 2020, during the first year of the Covid pandemic.

The portal is to work as a statewide registry of all mental health centres and provide a number of health services.

At the 'Chintan Shivir', Sudhakar said: "e-Manas is very easy to roll out even nationally because it is easy to use and is mobile-compatible as well. It is an internet-based statewide registry of mental health professionals, establishments as well as all patients. But the data will be completely secure and it is very secretly maintained. This is going to be a one-stop destination for all mental healthcare-related activities."

However, the portal has a long way to go to achieve these objectives, notwithstanding the minister's claims.

For example, only 30 of the 166 government district and taluk hospitals are on e-Manas. Only 125 centres that provide in-patient mental health facilities and only 406 centres that provide outpatient mental health facilities have registered on the portal.

The number of psychiatrists, nurses, clinical psychologists and psychiatric social workers who have registered on the portal from across the state is just 194.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare has sent a circular to all district and taluk hospitals to register themselves on e-Manas, said Dr Rajani Parthasarathy, the deputy director of mental health in the department., the website of the Karnataka State Mental Health Authority, lists only 41 mental health establishments with provisional registration. And the number of psychiatrists registered on the website is just 40.

Also, none of the 194 mental health professionals has uploaded any patient records to e-Manas yet.

Dr N R Prashanth, member secretary of the authority, agreed to the need to increase the numbers.

"We are yet to establish the Mental Health Review Boards which will check whether treatment is being provided as per relevant sections of the Mental Healthcare Act. Once we establish the boards, we will send a circular to all registered mental health facilities and professionals to start uploading patient records," said Dr Prashanth.

Patients need to give consent to both registration and storage of data on e-Manas. Mental healthcare professionals also need consent to access the medical records belonging to other mental health establishments.

Mental Health Review Boards need to be informed about grievances and admissions of women and minors, persons who have lost mental capacity and extended admissions, and instances of restraints.

(Published 10 May 2022, 08:51 IST)

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