Telemedicine part of ‘new normal’ in PH even as hospitals resume other services

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2020 03:15 PM

MANILA — A director of the Makati Medical Center, one of the hospitals in Metro Manila that accommodated a number of COVID-19 patients, said they will continue using teleconsultation to help prevent the spread of the virus in the country.

“Major efforts are really towards that direction. To minimize physical contact,” Dr. Saturnino Javier, director of the Makati Medical Center, said during a virtual forum organized by BusinessWorld and Philippine Star.

“Even during the height of the pandemic, COVID cases, we have encouraged many of our practitioners to embrace teleconsultation or telemedicine to be able to connect with the patients who have no opportunity to visit them in the hospital,” he said.

“This is still being encouraged as we partially resume operations,” Javier added. 

The hospital official said they allow their doctors to use whatever platform they are comfortable with, while they issued policies and protocols to help make the transition “seamless.”

“We fully embrace it as a form of connecting with our patient population,” he said.

While Javier acknowledged that “nothing can substitute face-to-face interaction,” teleconsultation helps ensure that people are not gathering in groups inside the hospital.

“We use online scheduling, online questioning so those preliminary questions can be addressed ahead of time,” he said.

The Department of Health and other groups also provided hotlines to allow people to consult first about their symptoms instead of heading to hospitals where they may contract COVID-19 or worsen the wait lines of patients who are in more need for medical care.