As part of the efforts made to enhance its telemedicine system, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, stated that it has recently reinforced its e-services by upgrading the services provided by outpatients clinics of the ministry-run hospitals to become virtual ones, using smart technology and digital communication systems.
The service, which comes in response to the precautionary and preventive measures taken to limit the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), includes medical, nursing, and pharmacy services, as well as supporting medical specialties, such as nutrition and physiotherapy.
The clinics will also provide remote curative and consultative services to simulate the pattern of traditional medical services without the need to visit hospitals.
Since its launch, the virtual clinics have attracted more than 15,000 patients, thanks to the top-notch healthcare services provided.
On the other hand and as part of MoHAP’s keenness to enhance the communication between patients and their families, especially, the senior citizens, the hospitals have launched the virtual visits to allow patients to keep in touch with their families, something that helps boost patient’s morale and improve their health conditions. The new service is based on MoHAP’s innovative technology solutions in the digital health field and it aims to further activate the social distancing instructions and to safeguard patients and employees from infection.
Diverse health services
The virtual clinics deliver most of the vital medical specialties, such as cardiology, pediatrics, internal medicine, gynecology, nutrition, physiotherapy, remote mental health services, such as drug rehabilitation programs, psychosocial consultation, other psychiatric departments, and community psychiatry of different ages, including adults, the elderly, children, and adolescents. The clinics will also provide medicine home delivery service nationwide to ensure the continuation of the curative services amid the current circumstances.
The virtual clinics and telemedicine services aim to provide those staying at home with the medical services, except in some cases that need to be assessed by the doctor according to certain criteria. This is part of MoHAP’s eagerness to ensure the continuation of the health services provided and to expand its telemedicine services, in line with the precautionary measures to prevent infection by reducing the number of those who visit hospitals, owing to the remarkable outcomes the ministry has achieved in previous programs in the field of rheumatism, arthritis, intensive care, diabetes remote monitoring and treatment, body vital signs monitoring, and the cloud-computing technology that is particularly designed to help depressed patients.
Utilizing smart solutions in Preventive and curative services
His Excellency Dr. Youssif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry’s Hospitals Sector, said: “The move falls in line with the government directives in terms of utilizing smart solutions in the preventive and therapeutic services to fight COVID-19. At MoHAP, we always seek to develop innovative tools and smart services to suit all the circumstances to provide our patients with top-notch health and curative consultative services.”
“To that end, we take advantage of smart technologies in the digitization of healthcare services according to the best international practices. We have also strengthened the mechanisms for integrating the AI in the medical services, as a pattern of virtual hospitals in the future, pursuant to the UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy and data analysis in line with the UAE Centennial 2071,” he noted.
MoHAP’s facilities are well-prepared to implement telemedicine services
Al Serkal pointed to the ministry’s keenness to ensure the continuation of the health services to maintain people’s health and safety and to continue to rely on communication technology remotely, as well as to make the best use of its advanced IT infrastructure that has been developed according to performance programs and indicators.
“MoHAP is able to overcome all crises and challenges through the continuous development of its tools and services and the utilization of all capabilities to enhance communication with patients via a series of value-added services and initiatives, to make mental health services accessible by all groups of society, according to the highest levels and best practices,” he concluded.
Providing high-quality healthcare services
Dr. Kalthoum Al Baloushi, Director of MoHAP’s Hospitals Administration, said that MoHAP had made the best use of the latest technologies in telemedicine system to provide patients with high-quality healthcare services and round-the-clock remote consultations to curb infection rates, underlining that MoHAP’s telemedicine and remote monitoring services represent the mainstay of the preventive medicine services in the UAE.
She added: “At a time when health facilities worldwide are facing major health challenges, most importantly the prevention of COVID-19 infection or any other contagious diseases, our hospitals are well-qualified and equipped to carry out the telemedicine service which is the optimal solution to curb diseases amid COVID-19, thanks to the availability of a sophisticated IT infrastructure and a highly-skilled medical and technical staff.”
Providing psychology counseling services
Dr. Mona Al Kuwari, Director of Specialized Care Department, noted that Al Amal Psychiatric Hospital has launched the telephone mental health counseling including psychological and social assessment and counseling psychology, pointing to the newly launched telemedicine service using visual and audio methods to enhance communication and receive public inquiries, in a safe environment and complete privacy.
She added: “The service provides advice and guidance by Psychiatrists, Psychologists and social workers to support patient who needs mental health support along with their families and to reduce the risk of relapse, as well as to alleviate the burden of mental disorders associated with changing daily routine.”
Al Kuwari pointed out that the initiative falls under a series of services to provide our society with psychological support. This includes medications home delivery service, Ma’kom Initiative to provide psychological and public awareness episodes via MoHAP’s Instagram live account, talk, we are listening as well as the activation of community counseling.