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ISSN: 2637-6679

Research and Reviews on Healthcare: Open Access Journal

Research Article(ISSN: 2637-6679)

Telemedicine Services at Rawalpindi Medical University: An Initiative to Optimize Healthcare of the Patients During COVID-19 Pandemic

Volume 5 - Issue 3

Rizwana Shahid*, Muhammad Umar, Shazia Zeb, Naeem Akhtar, Syed Muhammad Ali, Syed Iqbal Haider, Narjis Zaidi, Muhammad Ahmed and Hassan Ahmad

Received: May 08, 2020;   Published: May 27, 2020

DOI: 10.32474/RRHOAJ.2020.05.000211

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Objectives: To counsel the patients about COVID-19 pandemic and address their general and comorbid health problems by recommending appropriate referrals at their doorsteps. This will minimize the probability of viral transmission by limiting patients’ visits to healthcare facilities.

Methods: A survey was carried out at Rawalpindi Medical University to determine the presenting complaints of public calling at telemedicine center which was formulated amid COVID-19 pandemic since 27th March 2020. Doctors along with support staff worked at telemedicine center in three shifts twenty four hours via free dedicated helpline number. A questionnaire along with scoring sheet was formulated and provided to our doctors at telemedicine center so that they can categorize the callers as suspects or healthy people based on the scoring which they determine of patient. The data was gathered pertinent to demographics, symptoms (cough, flu, fever, breathlessness, and general problems) contact and travel history. Different referral numbers (1166, 1122 and 1033) were also communicated to the people with respective attributes. The data was analyzed by using SPSS version 25 .0.

Results: Total 888 public calls were received at the telemedicine center via mobile phones as well as video links established at the telemedicine center. Among callers 643 and 245 were males and females, respectively. Majority of the callers (22%) were 21- 30 years of age. About 6.2% callers had high grade fever, 4.9% had dry cough, 7.5% complained of shortness of breath and 15.3% had history of flu. Of the 13 callers with history of international travel, none of them had dry cough and high grade fever but still they were quarantined for about 14 days. Out of 7 callers with history of contact with infected person, only 2 were hospitalized while rest of the 5 isolated at home. Total 29 callers being suspects were referred to specified helpline numbers for testing, corona virus infection confirmation and emergency help while 31 callers were facilitated in food provision on demand due to lockdown imposition.

Conclusion: Telemedicine is determined to be the best utilization of technology for healthcare management of patients with maintenance of social distancing and at the same time counseling for adoption of precautionary measures amid COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to referring the suspects, confirmed cases and medical emergencies to helplines, this technology also serves to cater the food scarcity among needy people resulting from lockdown situation.

Keywords: Telemedicine; COVID-19 Pandemic; Viral transmission; Healthcare; Suspects; Corona virus infection

Abstract| Introduction| Subjects & Methods| Results| Discussion| Conclusion| References|