The International Telemedicine Service is a crucial tool for delivering care through remote consultation. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and Emirates Health Services (EHS) have launched the International Telemedicine Service, which is part of their plans to develop the Visiting Consultants Programme and help patients and doctors seek remote second opinion consultations in critical conditions.

The launch of the service came during MoHAP’s and EHS’s participation in Arab Health 2021, which concluded today.

UAE residents can avail of the new service when visiting their attending physicians at any of the 16 selected hospitals, where a doctor from outside the country is visually contacted to provide medical advice. Accordingly, information on the patients’ visits shall be recorded and regularly updated on the system by the ministry’s and EHS’s doctors.

The innovative service aligns the rules and regulations on providing telemedicine services included in Cabinet Resolution No 40 of 2019, concerning the Executive Regulation of Federal Decree-Law No 4 of 2016.

It also comes as part of the ministry’s and EHS’s vision to provide comprehensive and integrated health-care services that are aligned with the precautionary and preventive measures in health-care facilities.

Dr Mohammed Salim Al Olama, chairman of the EHS, stated that the International Telemedicine Service falls within the ministry’s and EHS’s efforts to speed up the transition to digital health technologies, implement innovative models in preventive health practices and enhance telemedicine services in order to reduce infection and benefit from the medical expertise brought in by the Remote Visiting Doctors Programme.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Sharif, Director of MoHAP’s Visiting Consultants Office, said that the international telemedicine service allows patients to utilise the medical expertise of consultants from several countries across the world.

He hailed the sophisticated technological infrastructure of the hospitals, adding that the new telemedicine service will provide a preliminary diagnosis and health-care consultations in coordination with medical teams of MoHAP, using medical apps on smart phones and other artificial intelligence-based tools.

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He noted that the decision to resume the Visiting Consultants Programme amid prevailing COVID-19 challenges aims to ease the suffering of patients and improve the quality of their lives. It will also help in reducing the need to travel, he added.

Dr Al Sharif noted that the service aims primarily to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to patients and boost the capacities of medical teams of the hospitals. The service focuses on the most-needed medical specialities to meet patients’ needs, using an easy digital platform that was designed to enable the seamless exchange of data between various internal systems, in full compliance with patient confidentiality and digital safety standards, he added.