August 06, 2015

Philippine Telemedicine: Will Pinoys Benefit?

Are you one of the many Filipinos who will benefit from affordable and accessible telemedicine? It’s a leading question, I know, but it’s one I have to ask. I once asked what people might be willing to do with PhP150 and I could almost swear nobody would be willing to invest it on health.

I hope I’m wrong. After all, Pinoys may benefit from investing in health services, such as the one offered by KonsultaMD. But will they? Really?

3 Filipinos who may benefit from KonsultaMD

Let’s get to know three Pinoys who have something to gain by dialing a call-a-doctor hotline – for all you know, you might be one of them.


Pinoy #1:
The overworked single parent who sacrifices his own health for his children

overworked parentYep, we hear that often enough. Parents want the best for their kids, which is why they put their children’s’ welfare ahead of theirs.

The ideal option for overworked parents is to take time off and go to the doctor for a much-needed checkup while they're at it. But let’s face it: Taking time off isn't a luxury every parent can afford.

The question now is, do you really have to leave the office every single time a health-related question comes to mind? Why not call a doctor right from your work desk instead?

The number to call if you're a Globe subscriber: 79880. For other networks, it's (02) 798 8000. Ask all the burning questions you have in mind. You deserve to know the answers – and a licensed doctor will give them to you.


Pinoy #2:
Someone who would rather not hike 40 kilometers to the next barrio – yes, that’s where the doctor lives – just to ask a seemingly trivial health question

infertility sterilityIsn’t that a question you’d like answered? (I can’t wait to share with you everything that was shared during the Infertility Awareness Month seminar organized by Merck Serono together with the Department of Health and the Philippine Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Inc. – stay tuned!)

We want every Filipino to have access to doctors, wherever they are. In an ideal world, all Filipinos will have universal access to healthcare, regardless of location and economic status.

While universal healthcare is still a dream, it is our responsibility to seek out programs that can make it a reality. That shortage of doctors in the Philippines we haven’t solved won’t be going away for a long time.

Do we sit on our haunches as we wait for the paradigm to shift, while millions of Filipinos remain desperate for access to decent healthcare? Right now, we have a platform that can help fill the void. We have KonsultaMD.

How so? Doctors in KonsultaMD, even if they’re based in Metro Manila, can cater to anyone living anywhere in the Philippines, as long as that person has access to either a landline or a cellphone.

PH smartphone penetrationLook around – everyone has a cellphone.

Technology is a great equalizer. Thank goodness.

The telemedicine service offered by KonsultaMD is accessible for cheap to everyone, rich or poor. Those who can afford a postpaid subscription to Globe can avail of the PhP150 monthly fee for KonsultaMD – this entitles them and four other members of their household access to doctors via phone at any time, wherever they may be. Those with a limited budget (prepaid Globe customers) get to pay only PhP15 for personal access to the service lasting one week.

Konsulta MD subscriptionSource:

These subscriptions to KonsultaMD allow anyone to make calls at any time, even in the wee hours of the morning, to licensed doctors round the clock, via landline within Metro Manila. The number to dial: 79880 for Globe or (02) 798 8000 for other networks.

Use a landline to do so and you don’t have to pay a penny on top of your subscription. If you use a Globe number to make the call, you pay PhP1 per minute.

For the price of a text message, you get to talk to a doctor for one minute! Imagine that.

Outside Metro Manila, you can still use your Globe number to call 79880 at PhP1 per minute. Alternatively, you can use your landline to call (02) 798 8000 (NDD rates apply).


Pinoy #3:
The Google-savvy person who uses the internet to self-diagnose or, worse, self-medicate

Dr Google

I am all for empowering every patient with the use of online resources, but using Google to self-medicate and diagnose your own illness is too risky! Doctors have the education and training to interpret your signs and symptoms – leave the diagnosing and prescribing to them, not to Dr. Google.

Using the internet to find out more about your health is great, but you may end up misinterpreting the data you read online. Talk to a doctor, either in person or over the phone through KonsultaMD.

Given our questionable health behaviors (read: 5 things your doctor-friend hates about you), it's time to give the reins to the experts.

Changing the status quo in healthcare

We have used technology to overcome hurdles in many aspects of life. How sad that we are still behind when it comes to using tech to address healthcare problems!

There is a need – no, a demand – for a more efficient healthcare infrastructure that covers the country’s ever-changing needs.

Telemedicine helps address the dwindling doctor-patient ratio. It also improves the public’s health behaviors as it discourages self-treatment and self-diagnosis. Lastly, it pushes doctors closer to those who need it the most: the underserved and financially-challenged.

If there is anything we should all invest in, it should be our health. Every other investment pales in comparison. Good health, after all, is a requisite for our enjoyment of life and all it has to offer.

Health is a right that everyone should enjoy. Thank you, KonsultaMD, for helping to bridge the gap in Philippine healthcare!


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