Sidra’s mHealth set to revolutionise wellness
DOHA THE Sidra Medical and Research Center, expected to be operational by the end of the year, is all set to radically transform the heathcare scenario in Qatar.
The buzzword in the health sector in the coming years will be Mobile Heath (mHealth), according to Sidra Medical and Research Center Health Informatics chief Dr Alistair Erskine.
Speaking to Qatar Tribune, Erskine said that mHeath can be defined as something that can be delivered mobile and does not need any fixed facilities.
He explained: “mHealth is medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants and other wireless devices. Patients sitting at home can communicate through the navigators and access the electronic medical record through an iPad or iPhone from anywhere in the world.” He elaborated that such practices can be worked out for a patient in Sidra by a doctor in Sydney through mobile enabled cameras and provided with medication and instructions.
He said that the moment Sidra opens its doors, benefits of mobile health will be provided to the patients.
“When the patients register with Sidra through a biometric scanning or other means to identify the patient, they will get the patient portal which will provide all the details about them,” he said.
“All these are connected to the Sidra system and the patients are provided with a login password and other details. When they are discharged they are given all the information and the parents or relatives of the patients know how to go about further medication and consultation,” he added.
Erskine said that the patient portal is already up and being tested. “All the things expected of a patient are already in the portal and we are also getting in touch with people about their expectations to make sure that it is culturally appropriate and serves all their needs.
Once a piece of information is available about a patient it straightaway goes to the portal.” he continued.
“In Qatar you are about to experience a major transformation in the healthcare environment. Sidra Medical and Research Center will be a beacon of learning, discovery and exceptional care, ranked among the top academic medical centres in the world.
It will be coordinated among all the other healthcare providers in Qatar and it will be mobile,” he added.
Erskine said that Qatar is making great strides towards providing a remarkable primary healthcare system and has a national vision pointing the way.
He said “mHealth has several advantages that are specific to Qatar. Sidra will not only be focusing on the patients who come to the hospital but the whole pediatric population of Qatar.
We will be taking pediatric in the broadest definition. It will include counselling before conception, helping genetic issues, sorting out pre-natal care, identifying patients at risk and any intervention during the pregnancy or immediately after the delivery.” He was quick to add that the quick care facility needs the support of all primary care departments to engage a primary care network and follow up on a patient discharged from the hospital.
He said that the fibre network initiated in the country by ictQatar, Qtel and Vodafone will be a great help for the success of mHealth.
He opined “Both the telecom operators are investing lot in increasing the quality and bandwidth of the internet through fiber network. We will have four links to Internet next year instead of the one at present. This is very important for mHealth.
The FTH technology is important, as this will enable to get accurate information from patients’ homes to have image information or video information of a patient.” He explained that the images of a wound getting healed need more bandwidth but to send weight balance sensor data needs very little bandwidth. “With FTH, this can be worked out in more robust way,” he concluded.
There are some obvious and fundamental benefits of mHealth such as the use of toll-free numbers for emergencies, appointment reminders and awareness-raising but advancement in mobile technology has also brought incredible and potentially live saving benefits as well.
For example, Erskine highlighted the area of medication compliance, which is ensuring a patient is taking the right amount of medication.
This can be particularly important for transplant patients who must take their anti-rejection medication to ensure their vital organ, be it a heart, lung or kidney, is not rejected by the body.