Family health has never been more important. And now, with Covid-19 spreading, any move outside the home, let alone a trip to the doctor, raises fear of contagion. We got together with Dr. Amr Hassan, Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cairo University and Director of Oasis Clinics to learn more about the online consultations offered in Egypt.
CWM: Dr. Amr, what can you tell us about telemedicine?
Dr. AH: This has been around for some time actually, with people using audio and visual communication tools, such as Skype. Two people can communicate, from the next room, the next city, or across the globe. It never really picked up before because it was always considered better for a doctor- patient consultations to be face-to-face. In some specialties it wasn’t considered workable, and that was the case, but now with the ongoing crisis, new solutions have been reached to meet the online requirement.
How can people register for a telemedicine consultation?
It is very easy to register, Oasis has four branches. You can reach our call center by contacting any one of these branches, and it will assist with the registration process. They can explain how the Zoom platform is used, the online payment process and all other procedures. They also send instructions by email, sms or WhatsApp. The call center will also request that any recent medical reports and test results be forwarded to the doctor so he or she can go over them prior to the online consultation.
What steps are involved?
An appointment is set up with the consultant, then no matter where the doctor is located at the time, the line is opened with the patient and they will have a 20 minute or longer consultation. Digital records of a patient’s medical history are kept with Oasis so the doctor will have a complete picture of any case. When the consultation is complete a diagnosis or course of treatment will be decided upon and a prescription will be sent by WhatsApp or email and the doctor will write up the notes to be added to the patient’s medical file. Test results come back to the doctor directly for follow up.
Is this as reliable as having an in-clinic consultation?
Oasis Clinics was one of the first institutions to respond to this need. In view of the Covid-19 situation, it was important to make consultations possible without risk to the patient or the medical team. In 50% of medical consultations a physical examination is not important, so it can be handled online. With the remaining 50 % we send a young doctor to the patient, to conduct any necessary examination or perform tests such as X-rays, electrocardiograms, ultrasound and laboratory tests and supply the professor or consultant with the missing information.
This decreases the need for people to visit the clinic and assists in social distancing, as follow up can then be done online. The most stringent procedures are in place to prevent any possibility of cross-infection. We believe that even after Covid-19 has passed, online consultations will remain as a convenient option for many, especially as it gives the scope for treating multiple medical problems through integrated medicine consultations.
Dr. Amr Hassan Mostafa
Associate Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine – Cairo University.
Fellow of the Society of Cardiac Catheterization and Interventions (SCAI).
Member – American College of Cardiology and European Society of Cardiology.
Tel: 0100 4000 777