* More than 80% of HMC outpatient care provided through telemedicine
A new Urgent Consultation Service at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is currently receiving around 5,000 calls each week, a senior official has said.
Also, more than 80% of HMC outpatient care is being provided through telemedicine, it has been revealed.
HMC introduced the new urgent consultation telemedicine service in late-March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Khalid al-Rumaihi, head of Urology at HMC who is managing the Urgent Consultation Service, says since being implemented, demand has steadily increased with the telephone-based service currently receiving upwards of 5,000 calls per week.
“We launched this service because we wanted to ensure the safety of both patients and physicians. The urgent consultation telemedicine service has enabled us to keep patients, particularly those who are most vulnerable to severe Covid-19 illness, out of our clinics and out of the emergency department,” said Dr al-Rumaihi.
“Since launching the service, we have seen a steady increase in the number of patients calling. During our first week of operation, we averaged around 3,500 calls and are currently averaging around 5,000 calls each week. We launched this service to provide the community with another care option, so we are happy that patients are taking advantage of it. We wanted to ensure patients had access to specialist care and were not putting medical issues on hold because they were trying to respect social distancing measures, or worse because they were afraid to come into the hospital,” added Dr al-Rumaihi.
The Urgent Consultation Service, which is currently staffed by more than 20 doctors who are providing advice across 15 specialties, also provides direct referrals to the emergency department and outpatient departments. Dr al-Rumaihi said since the physician-led service was launched, they are seeing the "greatest demand" for general medicine, orthopaedics, gynaecology, geriatrics, cardiology and mental health consultations.
He said around 60% of calls are from patients who have medication-related requests. Dr al-Rumaihi says while the goal is to keep patients who do not need to be in the hospital, out of clinics, it is important to note that essential hospital services are still operating.
“Around 80% of regular outpatient services are now being provided through telemedicine. Last week, our clinical teams provided over 27,000 telephone consultations to patients who are cared for as part of our outpatient services. We are working diligently to keep patients who don’t need to be in the hospital, out of the hospital, but not all care can be provided virtually and our doctors and nurses are continuing to work around the clock to treat patients who do require hospital-based care,” said Dr al-Rumaihi.
“Each week, our labour and delivery teams welcome more than 400 babies into the world, our cancer specialists provide chemotherapy for more than 550 cancer patients, and our emergency department physicians treat more than 20,000 patients. Keeping patients out of the hospital and limiting their potential exposure to Covid-19 is important, but the public must continue to seek medical care as and when they require it. And it is important that they know we are doing everything possible to ensure that care can be accessed safely,” added Dr al-Rumaihi.
Dr Mohamed al-Ateeq, head of Orthopaedics at HMC and a member of the project steering committee for the Urgent Consultation Service, agrees that while it is essential to keep non-urgent cases out of the emergency department as part of a strategy to curb and contain the spread of Covid-19, people mustn’t jeopardise their health because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We are seeing real evidence that the urgent consultation telephone service is helping to reduce the burden on emergency services and is allowing us to keep otherwise healthy patients away from the hospital. This service has allowed us to bridge a gap by helping ensure patients who need care are directed to the right place. However, the public must understand this service is for non-life-threatening conditions and that they must not delay getting help if they are experiencing a life-threatening condition, such as a heart attack or stroke. We want people to know that if you are experiencing a true emergency, they must go to the emergency department or call 999,” said Dr al-Ateeq.
The Urgent Consultation Service is available to any member of the public and can be accessed by calling 16000 from 8am to 1pm and from 8pm to 1am, Saturday to Thursday, and from 8am to 1pm on Fridays (Ramadan hours).
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
New strains, family visits cause more Covid-19 cases in children
'No allowance deduction for teachers due to Covid-19'
Tarsheed saves QR300mn in 2020 by reducing energy, water usage
Qatar calls for political solution to end rights violations in Syria
QU hosts webinar on strengthening children’s nutrition during pandemic
MoCI conducts draw to lease shops in Abu Nakhla market
Tree planting drive Caption story
Ramadan amid Covid-19 is 'a wake-up call'
381 face prosecution for violation of Covid norms