His Excellency Dr. Qasim Al Qasabi, Chief Executive Officer of King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre launched the new telemedicine centre in KFSH & RC in Riyadh which includes advanced technologies that offer communications with various hospitals at the same time unlike previous technologies, aiming at serving more patients through advanced remote technologies.
Dr. Al Qasabi stated that the New Telemedicine Centre has been equipped with the latest technologies in the field in order to ensure the best possible tertiary services are offered to patients in their areas via various telemedicine applications available at KFSH & RC. Those include remote intensive care, virtual clinics, second medical opinion, reviewing X rays and histological laboratory tests, in addition to offering educational and training programmes to professionals in their areas.
He indicated that the new centre has the ability to communicate with 32 hospitals at the same time and that KFSH & RC is trying to benefit from advanced communications as well as developing its capabilities to spare the patients and their companions the stress of traveling to Riyadh which may not be convenient for patients. In addition to reducing the costs associated with travel while maintaining the quality of health care offered.
His Excellency pointed to the fact that KFSH & RC had been able to examine, follow up, and treat about 1000 patients in 2015 through the Virtual Clinics Program, which targets patients who do not live in Riyadh. This is done through following up on their health in their own districts via a number of central and tertiary care hospitals located throughout the Kingdom. He explained that the Virtual Clinics have live audio and visual links that enable direct contact between the consultant and patient through the Telemedicine circuits available at KFSH & RC.
“KFSH&RC currently has 27 virtual clinics throughout various central hospitals operating under the Ministry of Health, that are offering patients services in 17 various specialties including diagnosis, follow up, treatments and consultations to KFSH & RC’s patients in their own areas which will aid in reducing the pressure caused by the number of patients visiting the hospital from the outskirts” Added Dr. Al Qasabi.
Dr. Jehad Bin Abdullah Al-Watban, Director of the Health Outreach Services Department and consultant of Interventional Radiology at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, explained that the new Telemedicine Centre is equipped with the latest technologies and multi screens linked with various locations simultaneously. A doctor, for example he added, can follow up a group of patients in intensive care as if he is working in the same unit. This is done through the ability to see the patient’s bio marks and communicate with the medical team if needed in the Kingdom’s areas at the same time, to obtain a comprehensive view that ensures the best treatment plan for the patient.
As for the virtual clinics, Dr. Al-Watban said: “we were able to operate three virtual clinics at the same time last year at the health outreach centre in King Fahd Hospital, in Tabuk. This is an indicator to the possibility of operating an integrated outpatient building for all specializations through virtual clinics that will enable doctors to check on patients without the need of being physically present in the same place, thus resolving part of the issues of doctors’ shortage or lack of specialists in every area, as well as saving time and expenses”.
He also clarified that the programme aims at utilizing and activating the Virtual Clinics for new patients in cooperation with the Patients’ Admission Centre at the KFSH&RC and “Ihalaty” system to expedite and offer instant medical admission and consultancy to patients where they are.
The Health Outreach Services Department at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh offers its services in 32 outreach centres throughout central and tertiary care hospitals located throughout the Kingdom. A number of memoranda of understanding have been drawn with Health Affairs departments to partner with the Ministry of Health hospitals to establish those centres. An agreement has been reached recently with Al-Qaseem’s Health Affairs department to link Tele ICU of nine hospitals covering all towns in Al-Qaseem region.