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First Telehealth Launched in High Impact Area of the Philippines

Telemedicine has grown in significance because of the increased deployment and development of digital technologies. National and international guidelines should think about including it in future updates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, forced social isolation and a lack of effective treatments made telemedicine the most secure interactive system between patients, both infected and uninfected, and clinicians.

Health care is always an important concern for governments and countries, regardless of their financial situation. Policymakers, administrators, and researchers are constantly working to provide people with high-quality health care at a reasonable cost.

Ever since nine more people in Cagayan Valley became infected with the coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom, health officials in the Philippines warned of an increase in coronavirus cases in the northern Philippines. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) announced the launch of the first-ever coronavirus disease (COVID-19) telehealth project in Cagayan Valley with this announcement.

“Cauayan City Care COVID-19 Consult” which offers a fast and reliable platform for data recording, consolidation, processing, and reporting of medical health information, was launched in response to the increasing COVID-19 cases in the region, the DOST-II reported.

The pilot testing of the project was conducted in Cauayan City as it is “a well-known SMARTER City in the north and is also actively engaging in social health development programmes,” it said.

“This project addresses the current issue in Cagayan Valley as it struggles to prevent the increase of COVID-19 cases in the region,” the DOST-II stated, noting that lack of information and documentation of COVID positive patients has led to the rise of active cases in the region.

The telehealth project, which will serve as a “COVID-19 Call Centre,” is expected to provide a platform for local health workers to record, consolidate, and report medical health information for Cauayan City residents.

On June 21, approximately 100 health workers and city health officials attended project training. The DOST-I, the LGU of Cauayan, Isabela State University (ISU), and the Commission on Higher Education Region II (CHED-RO2) collaborated to implement the telemedicine project, which was originally developed by the Office of City Mayor, with its goal to improve the city’s medical services.

The DOST-II said the telehealth project, which seeks to provide effective communication among healthcare providers and the people of Cauayan City, is expected to be replicated in other areas in the region.

Telehealth services are delivered in real-time or via store-and-forward methods. With the rapid evolution and downsizing of portable electronics, most families own at least one digital device, such as smartphones and webcams that allow patients and healthcare providers to communicate. To reduce the risk of exposure to others and employees, video conferencing and similar television systems are also used to provide health care programmes for people who are hospitalised or in quarantine.

OpenGov Asia reported that the demand for smart healthcare, which includes telehealth and telemedicine, is increasing globally. From the distribution of electronic medical cards to personal consultations, telehealth is one of the newest industries to use AI extensively. As the field of telemedicine and telehealth evolves with increasing adoption, the role of AI in telemedicine, too, will grow substantially.

Telemedicine is practically the country’s healthcare sector’s future, and the Philippines government will need to consider it as a key component of universal health coverage. As there are not enough doctors in the country, utilising technology to distribute medicine is necessary for the country’s healthcare sector to improve.

As a result, this technology is an appealing, effective, and cost-effective option. Telehealth has now become a basic need for the general population, health care providers, and COVID-19 patients, especially when people are in quarantine, allowing patients to seek advice on their health problems in real-time through contact with health care providers. Thus, the aim of this project was also to review the role of telehealth services in preventing, diagnosing, treating, and controlling diseases during the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines.

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