The Medical Director of the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Dr Emmanuel Srofenyo, has called on the public to utilise a telemedicine application deployed to enable patients to have access to health care at the facility without visiting the premises.
The digital platform, he said, would address, to some good extent, the present congestion at the outpatients department (OPD) of the hospital and also improve access to health care.
“We want to encourage our clients to use this App, so that we can reduce OPD attendance and address the congestion situation because some of them go through a lot of trouble to come to the hospital, and we want to help address that,” he said.
Dr Srofenyo made the call in Accra yesterday at the launch of the telemedicine application, dubbed: ‘GH-live doctor’.
Telemedicine, also called telehealth, is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunications technologies.
It allows long-distance patient and clinician contact, care, advice, reminders, education, intervention, monitoring and remote admission.
The ‘GH-live doctor’ is the first of its kind to be deployed by a public healthcare facility in the country, and is currently running on a pilot basis before a national roll out.
Dr Srofenyo said besides saving patients time and resources, the application would also collect useful data that would help in healthcare planning across the country.
For instance, he said, the application could help the authorities know the demography and age dynamics of people who called in to complain of particular diseases.
“That will be very useful for planning because we could get to know, by following and studying the data collected with the App, where reports of a particular disease are coming from and the age of the affected people to plan a strategic response,” he said.
He said already the hospital had put together a team that would be monitoring and analysing the data collected to help the authorities plan for medical interventions.
“People will be examined via the App and they may be asked to conduct particular tests. The patient could upload the results of the test for the doctor to have a look and advise on what to do, without meeting the patient in person. But if there is the need for the person to be brought to the hospital, the doctor will let him or her know, based on the initial examination through the digital platform,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ‘GH-live doctor’ application, Mr Yaw Karikari, told the Daily Graphic that telemedicine was necessary in the country due to the unimpressive doctor-patient ratio, which he said limited access to health care.
Touching on the importance of the application, he said it would provide all-time access to the medical records of patients, which would come in handy during emergencies.
Aside from that, he said, the medical information on the application would be securely encrypted, with logins also secured with fingerprint.
“Prescriptions can be made on the app and laboratory tests can also be ordered from it. It also makes room for patients to know the speciality of physicians and even video chat with them,” he said.