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Chronic patients to communicate with their doctors via internet

Moscow authorities are implementing large-scale project, which will allow patients with chronic diseases to communicate with their doctors directly, through the Internet or by phone. The project was launched in a pilot mode in six outpatient centers of the Eastern administrative district of Moscow. The information came from Andrey Belostotsky Head of the Directorate for coordination of health organizations of the Moscow Department of Health. According to him, the idea belongs to the chief physician of the Polyclinic No. 175.

"At these health facilities, medical care for patients with multiple chronic diseases is provided in the framework of a special program. Physicians and patients are in direct contact over telephone and internet. This gives an additional opportunity to not only carry out medical monitoring of the patient, but also provide advice and adjust treatment. Doctor and patient can also choose convenient time for visit, if necessary," Belostotsky said.
Patients were selected for participation in the pilot project not randomly. Belostotsky underlined that they need special attention, frequent visits and advice. To free people from wasting time in queues, they were offered a continuous and accessible contact with their doctor.
"It is not difficult to identify such patients. Each local physician knows his/her patients in person, their medical history, because often patients come not only to receive a treatment order or prescription, but also to talk to the doctors, to receive psychological support. Good advices and words of encouragement make patients feel better too," Belostotsky believes.
Despite fact that the first results of the project are positive, it has not yet decided whether to introduce a new policy for chronic patients all over Moscow or use it on a selective basis. "We do not want to hurry and implement it in the form of an order; it is a complex and many-sided process. Any initiative is a complicated matter, but we will try to explore the experience and evaluate its positive significance," he summarized.
The biggest challenge faced by project managers is the absence of doctor-patient communication. Doctors do not always know how to behave properly with their patients, patient often fail to monitor their health and comply with recommendations.
The new project aims to bring doctors and patients to each other. In Moscow, doctors have already begun to advise patients over Skype. The experiment was launched in the Polyclinic No. 191. The first session was with a cardiologist who told a patient about the prevention of essential hypertension.