June 24, 2021: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and the Emirates Health Services (EHS) have launched the International Telemedicine Service, which falls within both entities' plans to develop Visiting Consultants Program and help patients and doctors get remote 2nd opinion consultations in critical conditions.
The launch of the service came during the MoHAP's and EHS's participation at the Arab Health 2021 which takes place in Dubai from 21 - 24 June.
UAE citizens can avail of the new service, when visiting their attending physicians at any of the 16 hospitals where a doctor from outside the country is visually contacted to take 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 with the Cabinet Decision No. 40 of 2019 of Federal Decree-Law No. 4 of 2016 rules & regulations of providing telemedicine services. It also comes as part of the ministry's and EHS's vision to provide comprehensive and integrated healthcare services that are aligned with the precautionary and preventive measures in health facilities.
Strengthening digital health
HE Dr. Mohammed Salim Al Olama, MoHAP Undersecretary and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Health Services (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 the telemedicine service in order to reduce infection, provide innovative solutions and services, and benefit from the medical expertise brought in by the Remote Visiting Doctors Program.
Utilizing global expertise
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al-Sharif, Director of the Visiting Consultants Office, said that the international telemedicine service allows patients to utilize the medical expertise of consultants from several countries across the world. He hailed the sophisticated technology infrastructure of the hospitals, adding that the new telemedicine service will provide a preliminary diagnosis and healthcare consultations in coordination with medical teams of MoHAP using medical apps on smartphones and other AI-based tools.
He noted that the decision to resume Visiting Consultants Programme amid prevailing COVID-19 challenges aims to mitigate the sufferings of patients and improve the quality of their life. It will also help in reducing the burden of their traveling abroad for medical services, he added.
Dr. 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 specialties 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 said in conclusion.
It noteworthy that the ministry has secured the Most Innovative Remote Solution Award for the “Virtual Global Doctors” innovative project at the UAE Innovates virtual conference. This contributes to establishing a culture of innovation and boosting confidence in efficiency and performance.