DHA telemedicine
DHA has increased the number of doctors from 10 to 52 due to increasing demand for telemedicine services in Dubai. Image Credit:

Dubai: Doctor for Every Citizen, a telemedicine service by the Dubai Health Authority, has been quite successful as it provided 83,000 telemedicine consultations during the last one year.

Out of the total consultations from January 2020 to January 2021, 7251 were medical consultations for COVID-19 patients and 13,437 were COVID-19 related consultations such as queries on vaccination eligibility, screening procedures etc.

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The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) launched the 24/7 Doctor for Every Citizen initiative in 2019 in line with the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Capacity increased during COVID-19

In a statement issued by the DHA on Saturday, Dr Manal Taryam, CEO of Primary Healthcare at the DHA said that the authority has expanded the scope and capacity of this service in line with the importance of this service, especially for COVID-19 patients. The authority aims to provide community members with access to high-quality virtual care during and beyond the global COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that from the beginning of this service until now, the DHA has increased the number of doctors from 10 to 52. The DHA increased the number of stations used for virtual consultations from six to 16 stations. Doctors were also trained in sign language to provide this service to people of determination.

Regular updates

Dr Taryam added that the ‘Doctor for Every Citizen’ featured on the DHA app has also undergone regular updates to make it more user-friendly.

Dr Taryam said the authority currently provides family medicine consultation including COVID-19 consultation and plans to add more services such as the smart diabetic clinic, smart occupational clinic, smart smoking cessation clinic and smart geriatric clinic. The service is in line with the UAE’s efforts to combat COVID-19 and provide the highest quality of accessible care to patients.

COVID-19 patients

“COVID-19 patients require medical guidance, support and counselling during their home-isolation period to ensure they stay on track in terms of their health and to ensure that those who may need further tests, investigations or even emergency care receive the right guidance based on their symptoms. Telemedicine is an important tool to safely provide this service to patients and reassure them during their home-isolation period,” she added.

Dr Taryam further noted: “COVID-19 close contacts and community members who have COVID-19 related medical queries have an accessible 24/7 platform to receive timely medical consultation. The telemedicine service also directs home-isolation patients who require any medical tests or follow-up to a dedicated COVID-19 assessment centre.”

e-prescription

She said doctors provided an e-prescription for patients, particularly those with chronic diseases, who are on regular medications. Doctors can even request for laboratory tests, this helps reduce unnecessary hospital visits, ensures continuum of care and regular follow-up.

Dr Taryam said, “This initiative will empower DHA’s drive towards the use of latest digital technology to improve patient care, enhance efficiencies in the health sector and better support medical professionals as well as provide patients with added convenience and comfort.”

To book a consultation, the patient can download the DHA app or the patient can call the DHA toll free number 800 342 to book an appointment.