THE Southern Municipal Council has unanimously approved a proposal to offer more medical services online with electronic records being much easier to handle.Primary Health Centres officials were present in the council’s final meeting of the year yesterday.Council chairman Abdulla Abdullatif, who spearhead the proposal, said digital diagnostic papers were much easier to save, forward and scrutinise.Currently, the Health Ministry offers online services for appointment, medical results, fitness certificates for athletes, birth certificates and blood donation, while the Sehati (National Health Insurance Programme) app offers consultation with doctors.

“However, thousands of sick leave, test results and other diagnostic papers, besides other medical documents, are issued on a daily basis, leading to a huge wastage of paper,” said Mr Abdullatif.“Besides, vital services are not being offered on the Sehati app. Even medical results only from Salmaniya Medical Complex and King Hamad University Hospital are available on the app,” he added.The veteran councillor also claimed that there have been complaints of on-duty doctors at health centres going missing for long periods of time, leaving patients waiting for their turn.“On-duty doctors disappear for more than 15 minutes as patients wait impatiently to get diagnosed and receive medical attention,” he said.

“Even if patients are attended by nurses it is a waste of time since they can’t prescribe any medicine or order any medical action.”Primary Healthcare Centres medical services deputy head Dr Haifa Al Jassim pointed out that the digitilisation of medical services is a work in progress, with many services already being made available on smart phones.“Papers will be phased out and people will get all of their documents on whatever suitable electronic device they like,” she said.“We are working on the process and several services as are already online.”She added that the presence of large numbers of patients at health centre at any given time is mainly due to the fact that many of them show up without booking an appointment, either on the Sehati app or by calling.“People are being urged to book their appointments in advance, so to ensure there is no disruption in timings or waiting lists,” said Dr Al Jassim.

“The maximum wait time for each patient is 30 minutes and case classifications are done in triage rooms to speed up the process of entering a doctor’s room based on critical, emergency, normal or lower than normal medical need.“We have nine health centres operating 24/7, three of which are in the Southern Governorate, and all health centres in the country are monitored by an assigned performance inspector to ensure that patients are swiftly attended to and that the right medical call is made.”

Copyright 2022 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (