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The Hamad Medical Corporation’s Urgent Consultation Service has been providing about 5,000 virtual consultations per week, an official has said.
The service was started recently where patients receive care through telephone as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We started this service two weeks ago because of the current situation owing to COVID-19. The HMC is providing this service to minimise the visits of the patients to the hospital as much as possible,” Head of Urology Dr Khalid al Rumaihi, who is managing the Urgent Consultation Service, told Qatar Tribune.
The service started with 11 specialties and now it is being provided for 15 specialties.
“We are covering almost all HMC outpatient departments by providing the regular services virtually. Patients can call 16000 and then choose option 3 for the Urgent Consultation Service at HMC. We are working seven days a week from 7 am to 10pm.”
Dr Rumaihi said they have a triage team that listens to the patients’ health complaints and decide which specialty to be consulted. “We have also tried to keep space in between the doctors as well for the safety of the consultant.”
The specialties covered include urology, orthopaedic, general surgery, ENT, paediatrics, obstetrics/gynaecology, general medicine, pain management, haematology, oncology, dental, dermatology, among others.
Dr Rumaihi said each specialty has its own pathway.
“We want to avoid patients who have heath complaints to go to the outpatient or emergency when we can help through this service because not all cases are through high risk emergency. We want to minimise the visits to health centres for the safety of patients as well as the staff,” he said.
There are some patients who are referred to the emergency if the consultant feels the case is an emergency one, he said.
“Based on the problem of the patient, the doctor may need to see the patient so they give them an urgent appointment to visit the clinic or at the emergency. We also ask for urgent investigations such as radiology, blood test or prescribe medication,” he said.
Dr Rumaihi said that patients whose medications are finished and need a refill can also use this service and will be guided accordingly.
The HMC has an arrangement with Q-Post to deliver medicines to patients at home for free. Dr Rumaihi said the Urgent Consultation Service is free-of-charge provided one has a health card.
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