1887
Volume 2021, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094

Abstract

The rapid spread of COVID-19 disease in Iraq has been a daunting challenge. Given the overwhelmed Iraqi healthcare system, healthcare directors struggled to manage this unprecedented crisis. The role of telemedicine during the coronavirus pandemic has evolved to allow for social distancing while providing appropriate health care to the community at large. Telemedicine emerged as a reasonable solution to deliver appropriate care to COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study explores the role of telemedicine using the “WhatsApp” application between doctors and patients at home in the “Al-Anbar” province west of Iraq. All patients diagnosed with COVID-19 disease who were managed by a group of physicians willing to offer telemedicine service in many cities of the ”Al-Anbar” province west of Iraq were included in this study. Patients’ demographics included age, gender, disease severity, and mortality rate. All patients were followed until they were declared cured of the disease or otherwise. The telemedicine service was provided using the “WhatsApp” platform. The data were entered into a digital database for final analysis. from April through July 2020, at the beginning of the disease in Iraq, 716 patients were managed inclusive of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up using telemedicine services. Of these, 414 (57.8%) were male, and 302 (42.2%) were female. Of the males, 12 patients succumbed to the disease, resulting in a survival rate of 97.10%, whereas of the females, nine patients succumbed to the disease, resulting in a survival rate of 97.02%. Most COVID-19 patients contracted mild-to-moderate disease with a reported mortality rate of 1.2%. Those with severe disease had a higher mortality rate of 17.5%. There was a statistically significant association between the mortality rate and increasing age and COVID-19 disease severity. We believe that our experience using telemedicine in its most basic form proved effective in managing COVID-19 patients in areas where resources are scarce. It provided essential health care while minimizing the risk of disease spread among healthcare workers, patients, and their families.

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/content/journals/10.5339/jemtac.2021.16
2021-09-27
2021-10-25
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Keyword(s): COVID-19 , Iraq , mortality and telemedicine
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