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Rapid Development of Telehealth Services in the Philippines

In the Philippines, the growth in teleconsultations came about after an organisation collaborated with the Philippines Department of Health and the National Privacy Commission in providing free telemedicine services, which aided in reducing health centre occupancy and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Since the partnership’s inception, almost 70,000 virtual session services had been provided to patients throughout the country.

It had used a medical co-management approach in addressing patient concerns, wherein medical doctors can collaborate to establish a diagnosis and provide first-class possible treatment. Despite the travel and movement restrictions, our capabilities, resources, and partnerships have allowed us to provide healthcare solutions to people.

The coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) outbreak is a public health emergency of global concern. Telehealth is a viable option for combating the COVID-19 outbreak. The purpose of this systematic evaluation was to determine the role of telehealth services in disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management during the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to one study, the increase in telemedicine was greatest among patients in low-poverty counties (about 48 visits per 10,000 people compared to 15 visits per 10,000 people in high-poverty counties) and amongst patients in metropolitan areas (approximately 50 visits per 10,000 people versus about 31 visits per 10,000 people in rural areas).

Recently, there has been a rapid integration of these telehealth platforms. The Philippines local telehealth platform and a Philippine conglomerate firm introduced a joint venture in the Philippines to launch a telemedicine platform and develop a comprehensive digital healthcare ecosystem. On-demand virtual consultations with healthcare providers and chronic care services are a few of the key features.

With this, the joint venture will leverage the firm’s extensive healthcare network in the Philippines, in addition to the telehealth platform’s track record of efficiently delivering integrated telehealth solutions to millions of Southeast Asian users.

The collaboration effectively launched the platform to the firm’s employees and is now expanding its services to the public. App users can acquire a cashless doctor’s consultation, in addition to medical prescriptions and referral letters, in-app. They can also register for mental wellness counselling, and speak to an experienced counsellor through the app.

The local telemedicine platform allows users to bypass health facility lines and video-call a licenced health practitioner in 5 minutes, with medication introduced the next day. Medication delivery is completely free in Metro Manila. Medical history, health reports, and other documents are saved in the app for easy access. The platform additionally facilitates mental health counselling by trained counsellors and therapists.

OpenGov Asia reported that with AI’s expanding use in telemedicine, doctors will be able to easily analyse, screen, and diagnose various illnesses from afar. When remote checking and AI are combined, good progress can be made with less specialised labour. This is because AI has the potential to reduce hospital wait times and other processing inconveniences.

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 telehealth continues to evolve, in the not-so-distant future people would soon be hearing “the robot will see you now.”

Ultimately, the use of telehealth complements the delivery of health care. As a result, during the COVID-19 outbreak, telehealth should be a significant tool in providing care whilst keeping patients and health providers safe.

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