Doctors at your fingertips 24x7 in Dubai
Dubai - A family plan costs $120 (Dh440) per year and individual plan, $48 (Dh176) per year
A telemedicine programme that also manages acute and chronic conditions for the local population, without people having to visit a health centre, has been piloted in Dubai.
This project is purported to be a cure for long hospital waiting times and timely consultations with doctors.
The one-of-a-kind 24X7 Population Health Management Programme has launched a pilot partnership between the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Etisalat and Mobile Doctors 24-7. "When patients call us, we tell them the truth about what they need, not just what they can afford," said Raouf Khalil, founder and CEO of Mobile Doctors24-7.com, a digital platform that offers remote medical services to registered patients from the UAE and Egypt.
Available round-the-clock at the 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 a doctor as soon as possible, you can just call us and explain your symptoms to an on-call doctor," he said in an earlier interview with Khaleej Times.
After consultations, the medicines are also delivered at the patient's doorstep, 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 what ailment he/she could be suffering from 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. "The length of hospital stay 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 hospital costs by focusing on high-risk patients.
"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. "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 who provide advice via voice or video calls, live chat, on-site corporate health and wellness as well as the Johns Hopkins Hospital at Home Programme at any time of the day or night.
On an average, the centre gets between 4,000-5,000 clinical calls per month from the UAE and Egypt, of which 96 per cent are non-emergency conditions.
Companies that have registered their employees are also offered on-site wellness lectures, fitness challenges as well as customised meal and exercise plans.
An interactive mobile app called 'Mobile Doctors 24/7' is available on both Apple and Google Play stores for registered users to download and avail of the service.
The centre is staffed by family medicine specialists, paediatricians, psychiatrists, pharmacists, wellness advisors, case managers, virtual clinic for office, remote areas and home and hospital at home programme.
Dr Haider, CEO of health funding at the DHA, said: "Changing people's behaviour is essential in reaching a sustainable healthcare solution. We aim to implement the best possible practices and standards worldwide."