COVID-19: Telemedicine consultations on the rise - GulfToday

COVID-19: Telemedicine consultations on the rise


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has definitely altered everyday life, particularly the delivery of healthcare services and in the UAE, a telehealth project currently with 204 specialists on board has been moved to an earlier launch to accommodate the increasing requests for this new approach to treating and curing health challenges.

Fodhil Benturquia said since the pandemic, observed has been the rising requests for doctors’ appointments relative to COVID-19, online bookings and telemedicine consultations to whatever health issues and concerns while 50 per cent of patients want video consultations.

“We are living in unprecedented times where there is greater sense of urgency for patients and doctors to be connected.

“We feel it was prudent to roll out our telemedicine solution as soon as possible in the UAE and facilitate an interactive solution for patients to communicate with doctors from the safety of their homes to get the necessary care they need.”

Benturquia launched the expansion of his two-year-old Okadoc telehealth services which now includes operations in Indonesia—with approximately 200 doctors—

on Wednesday morning in Dubai.

Original inauguration was next month.

Benturquia whose background is in the e-commerce, conceptualised the encrypted and secure medical platform in 2018 in his frustration, while sick, to secure in the traditional way a physician’s appointment.

At the Zoom press conference was consultant rheumatologist Dr. Humeira Badsha, among the 204 medical specialists from 38 hospitals and clinics in the UAE who had signed up for the platform.

In an answer to a Gulf Today question, Benturquia said Okadoc was not in competition with the individualised telemedicine of healthcare institutions and facilities in the country or anywhere it shall operate in the future such as in Saudi Arabia since these are the ones either signing up as a group and therefore enlisting the services of their duly licensed registered medical specialists for more patients reach and assistance.

In some instances, it is the personal choice of doctors to join.

In Badsha’s case, she has so far had 50 patients not only in the UAE but also in Kuwait and Azerbaijan: “It is a very different experience now with your patients right in the comfort of their homes with their families. They are happy and satisfied.”

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