Patients can file complaints online soon

July 06, 2014 - 5:24:21 am

DOHA: Patients in Qatar will soon be able to lodge online complaints about healthcare practitioners and facilities in both, the private and public sectors.

The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has invited tenders from local, regional and international companies to set up a National e-Complaint system that will be instrumental in investigating medical errors.

A senior SCH official yesterday said that the proposed electronic system would make procedures for receiving and investigating complaints related to health services faster and easier.

“The system will be based on a special software that can accept all types of complaints related to health services, covering all areas of healthcare. It will also enable quick response and effective follow up on the complaints,” Dr Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, Director of the Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety Department and acting CEO of Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP) at SCH told this daily yesterday.

All complaints related to health practitioners are investigated by the Fitness to Practice Department at QCHP.

The portal will also have a Safety Alert to give urgent patient safety alerts to hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers in the country.

“This alert system will help in faster transfer of patient safety alerts once a risk is identified in the country. It is not enough to pass a message but we should also know how the facilities respond to it. The online system will help in monitoring the facilities in this respect,” said Al Khanji.

He said the proposed online service could be accessed through the Internet and mobile applications.

The project complements a series of other initiatives recently announced by the SCH to ensure patient safety and protect their rights. These include plans to issue a “patients’ bill of rights” that will define the rights and responsibilities of patients. This document will serve as a reference point in investigation of complaints related to medical treatment and medical errors.

The SCH has also announced plans to set up an advocacy body with members from the civil society to help patients get their complaints addressed.

Meanwhile, the SCH is all set to launch a smartphone application that will help users locate all public and private healthcare facilities in the country.

“We are preparing to launch this service by the end of this month,” said Al Khanji. 

In the first phase, the SCH had published a map showing the location of hospitals, clinics and primary health centres in the country. The app can be used by all smartphones, including the iPhone, Android-based phones and BlackBerry devices.

THE PENINSULA

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