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Implementation of a telemedicine service during COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan
  • +3
  • Muhammad Haneef Nagra,
  • Sumaira Ehsan,
  • Umair Ahmed,
  • Majid Ali,
  • Hafiz Amjad Hussain,
  • Abu Bakar
Muhammad Haneef Nagra
Faisalabad Medical University
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Sumaira Ehsan
Faisalabad Medical University
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Umair Ahmed
Faisalabad Medical University
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Majid Ali
Umm Al-Qura University
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Hafiz Amjad Hussain
District Headquarter Hospital
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Abu Bakar
District Headquarter Hospital
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Abstract

Aim: In this feasibility study, we aimed to implement a pilot telemedicine service at our healthcare facility in Faisalabad, Pakistan, and describe our experience. Methods: Telemedicine service was established by Faisalabad Medical University at two of its affiliated locations: 1) A 24-hour COVID-19 Telephone Helpline was established at Director Emergency Office, Allied Hospital and District Headquarter (DHQ) Hospital. 2) A Telemedicine Clinic comprising consultants and postgraduate residents from different specialties was established at Chief Office, Allied Hospital. The data related to the number and categories of calls and advice provided was collected from 27th March 2020 till 31st July 2020. Results: A total of 4582 calls were received, at both locations, during the study period, out of which 2325 callers (51%) were male, and 2257 (49%) were females. At Allied Hospital, 172 patients were advised accordingly for their complaints, whereas, at DHQ Hospital, 320 patients were advised accordingly for their complaints. At the telemedicine clinic only, a total of 2436 calls were received during the study period, 1474 (60%) callers were male, and 962 (40%) were female. The majority of the calls were received by medicine (43%), dermatology (21%), and pediatrics (11%) specialties, respectively. Conclusion: Despite some limitations, the benefits of telemedicine in this COVID-19 era are enormous and it is feasible to implement telemedicine services in developing countries. The developing countries must invest in the internet and technology access to facilitate telemedicine and other e-health services for not only curbing this pandemic but also to promote a more efficient healthcare system after the pandemic.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

08 Jan 2021Submitted to International Journal of Clinical Practice
08 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
08 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
20 Jan 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
01 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
12 Feb 20211st Revision Received
15 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
15 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
20 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
26 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
27 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Accept