* Medicines delivered to homes of more than 20,000 patients in first 10 days of service
Dr Moza al-Hail, executive director of the Pharmacy Department at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), has confirmed that the drug delivery service launched by HMC in mid-April for all patients, in co-operation with Qatar Post has achieved great success and enabled the beneficiaries to obtain their medicines in a timely manner without the need to go to healthcare facilities.
The facility comes as part of the efforts made to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19).
Dr al-Hail told the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) that HMC's Pharmacy Department succeeded in delivering medicines to homes for more than 20,000 patients in the first 10 days since the launch of the service. Also, the service received more than 30,000 calls from patients in the first week of its launch.
She said the service caters to patients with both new and refill prescriptions. One of the most important features of this service is that it enables a patient to get all of his or her medications from one source. Previously, such a person was required to go to pharmacies to get the same.
Dr al-Hail stressed that although the facility has been launched for the first time in co-operation with Qatar Post, all difficulties have been overcome in a competent manner, and the service has been a great success. It has won the approval of beneficiaries and enabled them to obtain their medications without the need to attend pharmacies at HMC.
She also noted that out of a keenness to cover all patients' needs of medicines, other windows were designated to obtain the medicines for emergency cases.
She added that the drug delivery service comes as a continuation of the efforts made by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to combat Covid-19 and curb its spread. It was launched in co-ordination with the MoPH as part of the precautionary measures undertaken by the Pharmacy Department to prevent the virus, which includes the absence of patients from HMC pharmacies and the allocation of a number for direct communication to get medicines according to the treatment plan for each patient.
Dr al-Hail referred to the opening of a centre at Hamad General Hospital, which is dedicated to receiving calls and providing services to citizens, and a second centre at Hamad Medical City to receive calls and provide services to residents along with other centres in specialised hospitals. These include a centre at the Heart Hospital and another one at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research, along with centres at Al Khor Hospital and Al Wakra Hospital.
She said the service would continuously witness an evaluation process with the aim of developing it in the future and benefiting from the experience of delivering drugs to patients at their homes, which "saves them the trouble of coming to hospitals to get them and contributes to the high percentage of patients who are committed to taking their medications in a timely manner, thus healing the patients and improving their general health".
Dr al-Hail noted that the most important positive aspects of home delivery service lie in bringing down the presence of patients in pharmacies and thus reducing crowding, as well as activating the procedures of social distancing between individuals, which in turn limits the spread of transitional diseases in general and Covid-19 in particular.
On the other hand, she said the challenges surrounding the experience are obtaining accurate data and information required from patients such as the mobile phone number and correct housing address as providing inaccurate addresses may delay the delivery of medicines to a patient. Besides, the service sometimes receives a large number of unnecessary calls that have nothing to do with ordering and delivering medicines to homes, which leads to a waste of time and gives other patients less opportunity to contact service centres.
She added that benefiting from the drug delivery service begins through contacting those who wish to obtain the medicine on the number 16000, choosing Hamad Medical Corporation from the list of options and following the instructions. After receiving the request, the patient's data is collected and the drugs are prepared depending on the medical prescription found in the patient's electronic file.
Then, another pharmacist reviews the prescription again and collects the medicine in one envelope before handing it over to the postal officer who then delivers the medicine to the patient.
She stressed the necessity for a patient to order medicines 10 days before one's stock if over. Also, she noted that Qatar Post drivers who deliver the medicines follow the highest standards of hygiene, as they are specially trained to deal with drugs, including those that need to cool.
Dr al-Hail stressed that HMC's Department of Medical Supply is making exceptional efforts on an ongoing basis, which has enabled the provision of all required medicines and pharmaceutical preparations in normal cases, as well as all types of drugs used in the treatment of people infected with Covid-19.
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