Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia turns to remote medical care for routine check-ups

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Saudi Arabian doctors are increasingly using remote “telemedicine” services for routine check-ups in the Kingdom, where movement is restricted for residents under curfews aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

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With many patients restricted from leaving their house or self-isolating to avoid spreading coronavirus, medical providers are using digital applications, telephone, and video services to provide consultations to patients in their own homes.

“What makes this service unique is the availability of several concentrations like general medicine, family medicine and internal medicine,” Dr. Talal al-Ghamedi told Al Arabiya. “Another unique aspect is the connection of the patient’s medical file to this service.”

Doctors practicing remote medicine are fully aware of their patients’ medical history, including previous illnesses and their last doctor visits, added al-Ghamedi.

Hospitals have implemented these new method in accordance with the World Health Organization’s advice on how to deal with non-emergency medical situations.

“We’ve exceeded 1,000 patients over the past two days only,” Dr. al-Ghamedi said

If a patient needs medical attention in person, the hospital provides a home-visit service to deliver medication or collect samples which can then tested in a lab, according to OB-GYN Dr. Nouf al-Asmari.

“This way we save the patient a trip to the hospital,” Dr al-Asmari added.

A circular recently issued in the Kingdom requires health insurance companies to cover the costs of remote consultations, one of the many measures Saudi Arabia has taken to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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