HMC telemedicine service received 197,000 calls in 2020

January 26, 2021

Doha: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) held an event at Itqan Clinical Simulation and Innovation Center to celebrate the success of the Urgent Consultation Service recently.

Present at the event were 30 representatives and heads of departments that contributed to the implementation of the service.

Launched in March 2020 following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of face-to-face outpatient appointments, the Urgent Consultation Service offered medical consultations to patients with urgent but non-life-threatening conditions via telemedicine, with options available for video or audio consultations.

HMC’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Abdulla Al Ansari, presented certificates of appreciation to the honourees and thanked all staff members who contributed to the implementation of the Urgent Consultation Service. He also confirmed that the service will remain in place in the future.

The Urgent Consultation Service was launched in a record time of 7 days with support of various departments at HMC, including the departments of Health Information and Communication Technology, Engineering, Human Resources, Communications, Health Facilities Development, as well as the support by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Head of Urology at HMC, Dr. Khalid Al Rumaihi is managing the Urgent Consultation Service. He said the Service has achieved its goals and was very well received by the public as it received 197,000 calls between its launch and 31 December 2020, with a 95% response rate.

A recent customer satisfaction survey involving 1,000 service users showed that 88 percent of the respondents expressed their satisfaction with the service, while 90 percent of those surveyed recommended that the service remain in place in the future even after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The telephone-based Urgent Consultation Service allows patients to speak to healthcare professionals to obtain appropriate diagnosis for their conditions so that necessary actions can be taken without the need to visit the hospital. “The Urgent Consultation Service is staffed by around 150 physicians and is currently available for 15 different specialities, namely: urology, orthopaedics, ENT, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, general medicine, cardiology, dermatology, paediatrics, dentistry, mental health, neurology, pain management, geriatrics, and oncology,” added Dr. Al Rumaihi.

The Urgent Consultation Service offers patients a range of healthcare services, including medical consultations, new prescriptions, prescription refills, referrals to OPD clinics, referrals to primary health care centres, referrals to the emergency department, issuing health numbers for visitors, and reviewing lab test results and clinical imaging reports when no medical appointments are available soon in the clinic.

Dr. Al Rumaihi said a number of physicians receive patient calls and conduct an initial assessment for the patients and answer their questions and when a specialised consultation is required, the call is put through to the specialist physician. In the event that a call is not answered, the doctors will call the patient back and then transfer the call to the specialist doctor if needed. All calls are recorded for quality control purposes and for future reference when required.

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