As part of the ongoing expansion of services and facilities across Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), last week Her Excellency Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, Minister of Public Health inaugurated two new services, a state-of-the-art Cardiac MRI Suite at Heart Hospital and a new chemotherapy robotic pharmacy at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR). Her Excellency also toured the recently relocated Audiology and Balance Department at the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC), viewing some of the equipment and services available to patients.
Her Excellency said HMC is expanding and developing its services and facilities to meet the demands of Qatar’s growing population. She noted that in recent month’s new technology, services, and processes have been implemented across the healthcare provider’s network of hospitals, improving quality of care and patient experience.
The newly opened Cardiac MRI Suite at Heart Hospital will provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient diagnostic services for patients at that facility. The purpose-built, high-tech magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite is the first of its kind at HMC and will deliver the latest MRI technology for noninvasive imaging of the heart and vascular system.
“Having a dedicated Cardiac MRI Suite at Heart Hospital means that inpatients do not need to be transported to other facilities for this kind of procedure,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari. “This new technology will help to improve patient outcomes and make for a safer and more convenient experience for patients.”
Dr. Maryam Al Kuwari, Senior Consultant, Cardiac Imaging and Chief Radiologist at HMC said that when fully operational, the dedicated Cardiac MRI Suite will perform upwards of six MRI scans a day.
“Cardiac imaging enables physicians to either rule out or show evidence of coronary artery disease. This enables us to provide early and effective treatment for patients. MRI images of the heart are better than other imaging methods for certain conditions. This makes the MRI technique an invaluable tool in the early diagnosis and evaluation of certain cardiac abnormalities, especially those involving the heart muscle. It can also assist in planning future treatments as it gives the physician a better understanding of the patient’s condition,” added Dr. Al Kuwari.
Last week also saw Her Excellency inaugurate a new chemotherapy robotic pharmacy at NCCCR. The pharmacy robot – the second of its kind in the region – uses a robotic arm to mix the highly toxic medications used in chemotherapy and deposits them in IV bags, vials, and syringes.
Chemotherapy medications are among the most complicated and toxic drugs used in oncology care. The high-tech chemotherapy robot will help eliminate human error and protect pharmacists from these potentially dangerous medications.
“This technology will help to improve the care provided at NCCCR by ensuring the highest safety standards for both patients and staff,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari. “We are always looking at ways to improve safety and patient experience and this is an excellent example of this commitment. When fully operational, the chemotherapy robotic pharmacy system can prepare chemotherapy treatments for between 40 and 50 patients each day.”
Dr. Moza Al Hail, Executive Director of Pharmacy at HMC said the robot performs weight and barcode checks to ensure doses are accurate and complete, improving both patient safety and patient experience.
“The doses are double checked by staff before being dispensed and administered to patients. The system is integrated with the Cerner patient information system which further ensures patient safety. The new system also provides another layer of protection for our staff, as they no longer have to manually handle the highly toxic medications,” added Dr. Al Hail.
Her Excellency also visited the newly relocated Audiology and Balance Department at the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC). The department’s new Medical City location is now home to all audiology and balance services previously offered at Rumailah Hospital, including all hearing tests as well as the audiology, baby, dizzy and tinnitus clinics, and advanced vestibular rehabilitation services, including a lab for the rehabilitation and treatment of the ever-increasing number of patients with dizziness-related disorders.
“The Audiology and Balance Department at the Ambulatory Care Center offers the highest standards of hearing technology and services in Qatar and the region. Patients in need of diagnosis and treatment for hearing and balance conditions will now receive the most up-to-date care and treatment in a brand new facility, within an environment conducive to healing and recovery,” said Her Excellency Dr. Al Kuwari.
Dr. Khalid Al Jalham, Director of the Ambulatory Care Center echoed Her Excellency’s sentiments, saying the Audiology and Balance Department was among the most advanced in the region.
“The Audiology and Balance Department at the Ambulatory Care Center is one of the most advanced in the Middle East, offering the latest technology and services for the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of hearing disorders in both adults and children, including newborns. The department’s new location offers a much-improved patient experience, providing patients with the opportunity to be seen, diagnosed, and treated, when possible, on the same day and without the need for multiple appointments.”
Commenting on the high standard of care provided at the Department’s new location, Dr. Khalid Abdul Hadi, Director of the Audiology and Balance Department, said: “Over the last fifteen years since the department was established, it has gone from strength to strength, ensuring the people of Qatar have the best possible hearing and balance care and support. We have fitted over 5,000 patients with hearing aids and enabled 245 patients to hear with the help of cochlear implants. We have also developed specialist diploma-level audiology training for our staff with Canada’s University of Toronto and implemented a national program for newborn hearing screening for every baby born in Qatar.”
Although all audiology and balance services have now transferred from Rumailah Hospital to the Ambulatory Care Center, services offered at Building 316 on HMC’s Medical City campus will remain at that location.