Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Role of Telemedicine Services in Reducing Emergency Department Overload in Saudi Arabia

Version 1 : Received: 26 July 2021 / Approved: 28 July 2021 / Online: 28 July 2021 (17:14:55 CEST)

How to cite: Alfaleh, A.; Alkattan, A.; Alageel, A.; Salah, M.; Almutairi, M.; Sagor, K.; Alabdulkareem, K. The Role of Telemedicine Services in Reducing Emergency Department Overload in Saudi Arabia. Preprints 2021, 2021070637 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0637.v1). Alfaleh, A.; Alkattan, A.; Alageel, A.; Salah, M.; Almutairi, M.; Sagor, K.; Alabdulkareem, K. The Role of Telemedicine Services in Reducing Emergency Department Overload in Saudi Arabia. Preprints 2021, 2021070637 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0637.v1).

Abstract

Background: ED overcrowding is described as one of the main issues in emergency departments (EDs) of any hospital. In Saudi Arabia, the ministry of health applied new telemedicine technology to serve patients by using the mobile application which include Sehha application and 937 medical call center. The main aim of this study is to determine the role of different telemedicine services in reducing non-urgent visits to EDs in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-section study was conducted during August 2020 - May 2021 among 319 patients were using two telemedicine services in Saudi Arabia, including medical call center, and Sehha smart phone application. The primary endpoint of this study aims to determine the role of different telemedicine services in reducing non-urgent visits to EDs in Saudi Arabia. Results: This study analyzed the data from 319 patients who completed the survey provided by the Saudi Ministry of Health that concerning on information related to their health status, and ED visits. Among patients that had the intention to visit the ED (N=159), 53 of them did not go to EDs after using telemedicine services (p-value < 0.01). Regarding medical call center and Sehha application, 9.6% and 24.4%, respectively of the patients used these telemedicine services had changed their mind concerning visiting ED after taking the medical advice (p-values < 0.01).Conclusion: The implemented telemedicine services in Saudi Arabia, namely Sehha application and medical call center showed to be effective in reducing ED overload by providing medical advices to less- and non-urgent patients and deal with their minor medical issues.

Keywords

Telemedicine; medical call center; Sehha application; non-urgent patient; emergency department visits; Saudi Arabia.

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