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Visitors at Gitex Technology Week in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Taking digital health services and telemedicine to a new level, the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) is showcasing its adoption of latest technology at the 40th GITEX Technology Week 2020. These include remote delivery of health-care advice, innovative digital health solutions to streamline doctor-patient interactions to counter the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Health Ministry’s upgraded telemedicine service includes all medical consultation services and constant follow-ups, based on audio-visual communication between patients and their doctors without the need to leave their homes. Telemedicine services cover cardiology, paediatrics, internal medicine and nutrition, and remote mental health services, such as psycho-social support, rehabilitation programs for drug-addicted patients, and other psychiatric departments and community psychiatry for all age groups.

More patients opting for video consultations

Dr Youssif Al Serkal

During the pandemic, the Health Ministry has been keen to boost its telemedicine system to ensure the safety of community members, reduce health risks and mitigate the burden of commuting between hospitals and outpatient clinics. MoHAP has developed more than one way to enable patients to communicate with doctors, whether by sending an electronic link to patients’ phones, reminding them of the appointment, or by directly contacting MoHAP’s hotline number. This has contributed to ensuring the continuity of providing patients with top-notch health services.

The telemedicine services also feature video outreach services to assist motherhood, public health and educational programmes to prevent diseases. The video calling service also provides for a second opinion with doctors abroad as part of the Visiting Doctors Programme. It has been estimated that with the introduction of these services at the end of the second quarter, the number of virtual visits had risen to 49,599 at the end of the third quarter.

Leveraging digital solutions in treatment services

Dr Youssif Al Serkal, Director-General of the Emirates Health Services Corporation, said: “Over the years, MoHAP’s telemedicine and health consultation services have constituted a key to supporting the UAE strategy for artificial intelligence and apply the latest technology tools in the health sector.” He further said: “The Health Ministry is committed to developing innovative tools and smart services befitting all circumstances, as well as providing high-quality health and treatment advisory services by leveraging smart technologies in digitising health services according to the most sophisticated global practices.”

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Top-notch health services

Dr Kalthoum Al Baloushi, Director of MoHAP’s Hospitals Administration, said: “To provide patients with top-notch health services, we have applied the latest technology in our telemedicine services. This has helped us provide 24x7 medical consultations since the COVID-19 outbreak, in addition to increasing our outreach activities via media outlets and SMS, as well as MoHAP’s website and social media platforms.”