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Health centres in Qatar to implement Continuity Care



Health centres in Qatar are in the process of implementing Continuity Care - a family medicine practice whereby the same doctor sees a group of patients and treats them over the years.

The practice, also known as longitudinal care, was started at the Westbay Health Center as a requirement by Accreditation Council for Graduate Education (ACGME) for Family Medicine Residency Programme.

It has now been implemented in six health centres. And, moreover, the practice is in the process of being introduced in other health centres in the country.

Speaking to Qatar Tribune recently, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) Specialist and Faculty of Family Medicine Dr Ahmad Mostafah said that in this model, each doctor is responsible for a group of patients, ideally families, and they follow them up in all stages of their life right from childhood.

"If one of these patients get hospitalised anywhere, their family doctors will get an SMS in their phones to inform them. Then, the doctor visits them and writes a report regarding these visits."

Dr Mostafah explained that when these patients get hospitalised the physicians in those hospitals communicate with the resident doctors covering them and they need to report to the hospital.

In addition, the ACGME requires each resident doctor to see at least 1,650 patients within a three-year programme."It is a requirement to show that he is a competent doctor."

According to him, besides Westbay Health Center, the practice of Continuity Care has also been initiated in Airport, Gharaffa, Madinat Khalifa, Um Salal and Al Rayyan health centres.

He added that the Continuity Care is now in the phase of generalization.

Meanwhile, Dr Mostafah thanked Director of Family Medicine Residency Programme Dr Zelaikha Mohsen for her valuable contributions as well as the service development at the PHCC. He also appreciated Dr Muna Taher, the Associate Director of Family Medicine Residency Programme.

Talking about the concept, Egyptian Family Medicine second year resident Dr Ehab Fadhel said that in case of Continuity Care, he needs to treat 'the family' comprising father, mother, children, driver, maid and"we follow them over the course of time".

According to Dr Fadhel, the doctors are required to see patients of all ages and with different presentations - either acute or chronic."We see patients aged from zero to very elderly, of both genders. If they are admitted in any hospital, we know their cases, we visit and evaluate them. In chronic diseases, the patient needs to stay with one doctor for follow-up."

Dr Fadhel added that so far he has seen a long list of patients.

Iraqi Family Medicine second year resident Dr Reem Kamal Hassan said that she is seeing the patients now for the second year and she will see them again in the third and fourth years until she becomes a specialist.

A Qatari patient, Husam Abdel Rahman, present at the health centre thanked the government for such first class services and the best methods being offered not only to Qataris but other nationalities as well.

The Westbay Health Center has a unique feature as it is mainly for training. The centre is also affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar University's Faculty of Medicine and University of Calgary. It provides education, research in addition to providing services to the people.


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