Dubai Health Authority on Sunday launched the pilot phase of the telehealth project - RoboDoc, which will significantly enhance the manner in which healthcare is delivered in the emirate.
DHA's IT department held a workshop titled ‘Continuous Innovation in Telehealth’, to discuss the implementation of the pilot phase and future roadmap for the telehealth project.
Amani Al Jassmi, Director of Information Technology at DHA, said: "DHA is the first government health organisation in the region to implement telehealth. This project is in line with the vision of Dubai Smart City and it is one of the core projects for the DHA because telehealth can ensure consistent high quality of care, anytime, anywhere and any place due to the remote present robot systems."
"As part of the pilot, a robot has been placed in Hatta Hospital's emergency department and it is linked to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Center. Multiple specialists from the Trauma Centre can provide immediate consultations for a patient in Hatta hospital. Thus, RoboDoc will help reduce transfer of patients to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Centre. It will also help enhance the function of other DHA emergency departments and ICU's."
Al Jassmi added that another robot has been placed in the Nad Al Hammar Primary healthcare center, which is a 24-hour health center, and again this robot will be linked to Rashid Hospital's trauma center, where specialties can provide immediate medical care.
Telehealth provides immediate access to consultation with specialists. In fact, through the robot, doctors can consult with two or more specialists in different health facilities at the same time to get immediate specialised consultation. Similarly, doctors from Hatta Hospital will be able to consult with a neurologist from Rashid Hospital and a cardiologist from Dubai Hospital at the same time. "Through this technology we are cutting down in time lapses, providing the patient with immediate access to specialised healthcare, improving medical efficiencies and thus improving the happiness index of our customers," she said.
DHA will be using robots designed by InTouch Health Technologies. Yulun Wang, Chairman and CEO of InTouch Health and Past Immediate Vice- President American Telemedicine Association, said: "Telehealth is the answer because it can leverage physicians such that they can be available anytime and anywhere and provide quality care to anyone at reduced costs. There have been many studies, which highlight that with the right technology telemedicine consultations are just as effective as in-person meetings. In fact, telemedicine consultations can be better than in-patient consultations as well because the computer helps the physician in real time. The computer analyses the images of the patient in real time and helps improve the diagnostic capabilities.
DHA plans to extend RoboDocs use to ICUs, NICUs and for further consultation purposes.