Doctors in your smartphone: pandemic gives impetus to online medicine development
Coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the importance of development of the digital medicine. While the virus continues spreading actively around the world, the number of people seeking medical care on the Internet has rapidly grown. Being afraid of catching COVID-19 in the queue, people began to search for alternative options of doctor appointment. Kazakh citizens more often contact call centers for assistance or use online consultation services. Specialists of iKOMEK109 service of the capital receive requests from residents day and night.
“We have received all the necessary information from the healthcare department of Nur-Sultan. 11,563 requests for doctor appointment have been recorded since March 13 during the state of emergency and quarantine. Doctors have consulted more than 20,312 people with symptoms of coronavirus,” said the center’s head Zhannat Dubirova.
The number of new initiatives of the online medicine development in Kazakhstan grows every day. Recently signed Road map for addressing e-health issues contributes to this. The document that consists of five sections is created to digitally transform the medicine to make it convenient for both doctors and patients. 44 large-scale events are planned to be organized in the next two years as part of the comprehensive project.
“Electronic medical records became a regular thing. However, there is still problem in the data exchange between different information systems. In this regard, the Road map involves measures to develop the e-health structure. We considered it important to include in this plan issues of medical service quality control and interaction with patients. We will develop telemedicine and prescription in electronic format. Another new available service is the introduction of e-system of enterprise’s health certificates,” said Deputy Chairperson of the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Yuliya Yakupbayeva.
Internet has its own pitfalls. Therefore, a separate section of the map is designed for protection of personal data, including exchange of information. Nowadays a particular attention is paid to the observance of the privacy and security policies in health organizations.
“The project introduced the following digital tools: “Daily Call Center - 1406”, guaranteed volume of medical care and “Qoldau 24/7” mobile application for registration, recording and processing of complaints and appeals of patients receiving medical services under the Compulsory Social Health Insurance. Accordingly, as part of the road map, a joint analysis of these problems and the development of specific, systematic measures with stakeholders are expected,” said Aibatyr Zhumagulov, Chairperson of the Social Health Insurance Fund.
Representatives of the Kazakhstan Association of Family Physicians decided to contribute to the digital transformation of domestic medicine. They have organized online consultation department that works without days off from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. The doctors consult everyone who requested the assistance.
“This is my first pregnancy and so I feel quite worried. I don’t know much about pregnancy and that’s why I often have various disturbing thoughts. I decided to turn to professionals for help. Since I couldn’t go anywhere during the nationwide lockdown, I received answers to all my questions online. I got a lot of new and beneficial information during the consultation. It was very convenient. It would be good to have such an opportunity even after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said a resident of Nur-Sultan Aizhan Isabayeva.
Medicine is moving forward. In order to keep up, Kazakh medical workers trying to stay well informed. Health workers continue exchanging experiences and improving their knowledge through various electronic platforms during the quarantine regime.
“We worked very closely with the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians. Our employees worked with the American Board of Family Medicine – they translated and adapted exam guides. There is also a voluntary testing of doctors’ knowledge carried out, as well as the discussion of the answers using the ‘Telegram Quiz’ service. Together with the ‘Adamdar/CA’ project about Central Asia, a simple virtual booklet ‘COVID-19: What the Doctors Say’ was developed,” said Damilya Nugmanova, President of Kazakhstan Association of Family Physicians.
Experts say that it is another lesson that the COVID-19 pandemic taught the world. The medical sector realized the importance of quickly adapting to modern trends and began to massively introduce advanced technologies in order to withstand global challenges.