In a time of restricted movement and social distancing, caring for patients can pose a number of challenges. The ongoing global crisis had forced healthcare institutions to turn to alternative ways of providing care while limiting exposure to the virus.
Telemedicine – sometimes referred to as telehealth – pertains to the use of technology in providing certain healthcare services. It was originally created as a way to treat patients who were situated in remote places, far from local healthcare providers or medical professionals. While telemedicine is still being used to address these problems, it is increasingly becoming an effective setup for the “new normal”.
The pandemic has showcased how telemedicine can aid in limiting exposure the virus while lowering the possibility of spreading the disease. In Bahrain, several hospitals began offering their consultations remotely.
The e-government app, Sehati, provides a number of health services to the public including:
- Find a Doctor: Display all authorized physicians in the Kingdom of Bahrain with their specialties and the working place.
- Medicines: Information about the authorized medicines in Bahrain pharmacies, with related details (price and supplier name).
- Ask a Doctor: Ask a medical question and get the reply from the concerned physician.
- Appointments: Book an appointment at your Health Center or Salmaniya Medical Complex pharmacy and view the appointments of Salmaniya Medical Complex and King Hamad University Hospital.
- Pharmacies and Shops: Information about the authorized pharmacies and health product retailers in Bahrain.
- Health Care Facilities: Information about the Health care facilities in Bahrain (hospitals, clinics, health centers).
- Medical Results: Check the readiness status of your Medical results (Lab and X-ray) in Salmaniya Medical Complex and King Hamad University Hospital.
- Birth Certificate Services: Request for birth certificate for the new births and request a replacement of the existing birth certificate.
Another app, Doctori, which is licensed by the National Health Regulatory Authority, allows users to connect with a healthcare provider and consult wherever they are through video calls.
With telemedicine solutions, healthcare providers can continue to provide basic care without in-person contact. Apart from minimizing the risks for both parties, this arrangement offers an opportunity for healthcare providers to maximize their workforce.
The coronavirus pandemic has shed a new light on telemedicine in Bahrain. Digital health proves to be an adequate solution in this situation by bridging the gap between physicians, healthcare providers and the people.
Indeed, crises are opportunities for innovation. Beyond the pandemic, healthcare providers and concerned authorities must continue to work together to ensure that the innovation sparked by this crisis endures and accelerates.