2 - Qatar Health 2021 Conference abstracts
  • ISSN: 1999-7086
  • EISSN: 1999-7094


In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) in Qatar recognized the need to limit face-to-face consultations within health centers in order to prevent unnecessary spread of the virus by offering an alternative solution for patients to access primary health care1,2. PHCC responded by establishing teleconsultation services (telephone and video) within health centers and establishing a community call center offering teleconsultations for family medicine, ophthalmology, and dentistry services, with a nursing tele-triage service operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week3. All previously booked appointments within health centers were converted to outbound telephone consultations. The community call center was widely advertised and received incoming patient inquiries. This led to an analysis of the teleconsultation service utilization on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The 27 health centers successfully provided 703,845 teleconsultations (via video and telephone calls) between 1st April and 31st October 2020 compared to 964,285 in-person consultations (Table 1). A significant percentage of patients continue to opt for a telephone consultation rather than a face-to-face visit. Between 29th March and 28th November 2020, the community call center received a total of 159,137 calls with 61% of calls managed and resolved by a nurse, without the need for a consultation by a physician. The rapid response by PHCC to find alternative means to offer primary health care services during a pandemic was activated early and the public responded positively. Teleconsultation services within Qatar have been widely accepted by patients who have more choices to access primary care services. Since April 2020, when teleconsultations were fully implemented in PHCC, to October 2020, 42% of all consultations have been via teleconsultation (Table 1). Teleconsultation services both within health centers and the community call center, offer an alternative means of care delivery, empowering patients.


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  1. Abdulmalik M, Al Kuwari MG, Al Abdulla S, Bakri AH, Gibb J, Kandy MC. The COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Primary Health Care services: An Experience from Qatar. medRxiv. 2020 .07.22.20160333.
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  2. Rhatomy S, Prasetyo TE. Impact of COVID-19 on primary care visits: Lesson learnt from the early pandemic period. Journal of Community Empowerment for Health. 2020; 3:(2):108–117.
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  3. Briggs JK. Telephone triage protocols for nurses. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams; & Wilkins; 2016.
    [Google Scholar]

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  • Article Type: Conference Abstract
Keyword(s): call centerCOVID-19primary health caretele-triage and teleconsultation
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