Materia Medica Malaysiana

February 25, 2007

Shot in the arm for telehealth

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:12 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: The telehealth project under the Health Ministry is set to undergo a major revamp to enable Malaysians to get answers to their medical problems immediately via a call centre and expand the usage of kiosks to get information at major clinics in rural areas.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said yesterday that he was dissatisfied with current glitches such as the public only getting answers to their questions three days after using the ministry’s call centre.
The project, he said, needed to be more focused and that changes would be completed during the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
“Nowadays, they put in the information about something like a headache and wait about three days to get a response. This is not good. So, we are going for realtime.”
To achieve this, Dr Ismail said the ministry hoped to recruit retired medical officers, nurses and medical assistants who were highly trained.
“They will be given specific times of the day to be on duty.”
With the move, he said individuals who called in will be told immediately whether the ailment such as a headache is dangerous or not and what medication or treatment to seek.
Dr Ismail said that teleprimary care would be expanded to rural areas where the ministry was working with the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry to provide USB ports to rural schoolchildren who would be able to access the Internet and get health information.
Several major health clinics in rural areas in Sarawak and Kepala Batas in Penang had been set up with kiosks where patients could obtain information on their ailments.
Other sections of telehealth such as teleconsultation, teleCPD (continuous professional development for doctors) and teleconferencing would also be improved on.

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