Mobile doctors on call to cater to non-emergency health

Do we have a cure for long hospital waiting times and timely consultations with doctors? Apparently, yes.

Available round-the-clock at a click of a button, mobile doctors are digitally transforming the UAE’s healthcare system and providing advice for mild to chronic ailments on the go. “If you are feeling unwell and need to consult with a doctor as soon as possible, you can just call us and explain your symptoms to an on-call doctor,” explains Raouf Khalil, Founder and CEO of Mobile, a digital platform that offers remote medical services to registered patients from the UAE and Egypt. Services will soon be expanded to Oman and Bahrain.

After consultations, medicines are also delivered at the doorstep of the patient as per requirement. ‘There are too many people coming to the outpatients clinics in hospitals; the waiting lines and appointment time is too long,” said Raouf.

“So to resolve this issue, we have this call centre that allows people to call and explain their symptoms to the doctor. Based on the description, the doctor tells the patient that he/she could be suffering from this ailment and gives the required advice.”

The doctors, at times, also tell the patients that they don’t need to come to the clinic and someone will follow up on their condition later.

Raouf also said that another problem in the public sector is the average length of stay in the hospital. “Length of stay at the hospital is way too long. So such patients can be transferred to our ‘hospital at home’ programme and we can do the telemonitoring from home just as if they are being monitored at the hospital,” he said.

“The government can save 70 per cent of costs in hospitals by focusing on high risk patients,” said Raouf, adding that by July, the centre was tying up with a few public hospitals in UAE and Qatar in this regard. “Any long term hospital patient can be discharged earlier and we can take care of the patient at home through our 24 hour monitoring and follow-up service.”

Raouf said that the readmittance rate to hospitals will reduce, putting a lesser burden on healthcare.

If anything goes wrong and an alarm rings at the call centre, the doctor calls right away and advises the patient on what needs to be done immediately. “Consulting remotely with our doctors is much cheaper than going to the hospital,” claimed Raouf. “This is because we don’t order unnecessary tests and there are no clinical delays.”

A family plan costs $120 (Dh440) per year and individual plan, $48 (Dh176) per year.

The centre combines teleconsultation, telemonitoring and home health to provide healthy, acute and chronic condition management for UAE residents, from home or on the go. However, all emergency cases are directed to hospitals.

The centre also has wellness experts that provide advice via voice or video calls, live chat, on-site corporate health and wellness as well as Johns Hopkins Hospital at Home Programme at any time of the day or night. “We tell patients what they need, not what they can afford,” explained Raouf. He also said that doctors are not sent to any patient unless the situation really demands it.

The service was introduced in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council at the Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) programme in Dubai.

The centre gets between 4,000-5,000 clinical calls per month from UAE and Egypt, of which 96 per cent are non-emergency conditions.

According to a study done in the GCC, 90 per cent of the calls made to 999 are not an emergency. Also, according to the American Medical Association, 70 per cent of non-life-threatening conditions could be resolved by speaking to the doctor over the phone

Companies that have registered their employees are also offered on-site wellness lectures, fitness challenges as well as customised meal and exercise plans.

Source – Khaleej Times


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