Telemedicine Program Launched by Department of Health in CALABARZON Region

Jan 2020

The Department of Health (DOH) in the CALABARZON Region (covering the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) has rolled out a telemedicine program, in collaboration with Innove Communications Inc (Innove), with the aim of improving health service delivery in identified geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) of the region.

The DOH-Calabarzon and Innove signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in December 2019 for the project. Under this MOA, Innove, a subsidiary of telco major Globe Telecom, would provide 180 voice telehealth kits for the rollout implementation of the project, designed in two phases – from December 2019 to December 2021 for phase 1 (80 units) and April 2020 to April 2022 for phase 2 (100 units). The project had its pilot run from February to June 2019 in 10 barangays in Quezon province and recorded a total of 286 calls from residents with cases of cough, colds, edema/skin lesions/skin rash, shoulder and back pain, fever and dizziness/headache, among others.

DOH CALABARZON Director Eduardo Janairo said the program, dubbed Medical Call Consultation (MCC), would provide better Medical treatment and care to patients through the use of advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) because they will be served in their area without the burden of traveling long distances to get to the nearest hospital.

The MCC service involves the deployment of voice telehealth kits (mobile phones) with features such as free calls to the landline on nominated area code, broadband, KonsultaMD License, access to 24/7 licensed Filipino doctors, Medical advice and primary care guidance, medicine e-prescriptions. It would also gather patient data to facilitate follow-up and continuous care through the documented call consult with the assistance of a barangay health worker to achieve continuity of care.

In February 2019, Philippine President Rodrigo Dueterte signed into law the landmark Universal Health Care (UHC) Act that automatically enrolls all Filipino citizens in the National Health Insurance Program and prescribes complementary reforms in the health system. It also includes assurance of member access to all levels of health care provider networks, whether accessed through health care facilities or remotely through the use of digital technologies for health.

(Sources: Philippine News Agency; Department of Health; World Health Organization)

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