Almost exactly 14 months to the day since the press release announcing a pilot of a telemedicine service, the first patient is said to have undergone treatment using the Dubai Health Authority’s RoboDoc telemedicine system according to Middle East North Africa Financial Network. The patient was based in Hatta Hospital and the respiratory specialists were based at Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre according to the report. RoboDoc units, from InTouch Health, have also been installed at two primary care centres in Dubai.
In a previous TTA article this editor expressed surprise that telehealth would be of interest to Dubai which is only 1600 square miles in area. Having considered the details of the implementation the interest is partially explained by the fact that Hatta is an outpost separated from the rest of Dubai, 135 km (84 miles) from Rashid Hospital.
However, the other two centres at which the RoboDoc devices have been installed, Al Bashar Health Centre (15 miles from Rashid Hospital) and Nad Al Hammar Health Centre (7 miles from Rashid) are so close it is surprising that telehealth would be considered a useful technology to implement. Nevertheless, the medical director of the Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre is quoted as saying that the immediate access to specialised consultation will be particularly helpful in emergency situations and the telemedicine solution will reduce the need for patient transfer to Rashid Hospital’s Trauma Centre. RoboDoc also allows multiple specialists, possibly from multiple locations, to connect simultaneously which is considered another useful aspect of this telemedicine service.
According to the report, Dubai intends to roll out the service across all its hospitals and health centres as well as to home-care patients. In the case of home-care patients a nurse will visit them and dial in for a tele-consultation if needed.
Reported also in Khaleej Times.