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Telehealth in the Philippines: Pros and Cons

by GMDP November 04 2021

One alarming fact: Physicians say that Filipinos’ low awareness of their health is creating a public health crisis. 

No one knows your health more than you, that is why it's important to be thoroughly immersed in your health journey. Telehealth helps you with that. 

Even if some quarantine restrictions are already lifted here in the Philippines, patients are still reluctant to visit hospitals or healthcare facilities. More patients are preferring to have their regular consultations with their physicians virtually, especially with the threat of the COVID-19.

Despite everyone’s best efforts to be safe and follow health protocols by heart, when a facility is filled with people who live in different areas, different ways of living, and different modes of transportation, the risk of contracting the virus remains. 

Virtual consultation is just one of the many benefits of Telehealth here in the Philippines. Yet, just like any other innovation, there are also disadvantages. It’s best to be fully informed about both the pros and cons of Telehealth in the Philippines before you decide to invest in the system. 

Telehealth in the Philippines: Pros

  1. No Need for Transportation 

The traffic in the Philippines has been a problem for how many years already. Despite the government’s effort to provide solutions to this problem, transportation in the country is still not the easiest. Telehealth being available, takes out the burden of traveling for both patients and physicians. Consultations can now be done in the comfort of one’s home. As long as both have an internet connection and smart device, there is no need to visit healthcare centers for consultations anymore. 

  1. Use of Patient Portal

Patient Portal is a platform where all of the information a patient needs can be found. It may be difficult for both patients and healthcare staff if a patient needs to call every time he needs to ask questions, more so if telecommunication charges apply, considering that a physician can live in a different city. When there is a patient portal, patients can have easy access to information. 

  1. Patient Engagement

As mentioned before, Filipinos’ low awareness is creating a public health crisis in the country. With the use of a Telehealth system, patients can now have a digital copy of all of their electronic and medical records. As well as their test results, prescriptions and list of medications. Usually frequently asked questions can also be found in this portal.

When patients are provided with their complete health information, they become more aware of current issues and the health problems they have to work on. Therefore, it will lead the patients to be more engaged in their healthcare. 

Telehealth in the Philippines: Cons

  1. Internet Connection 

The Philippines has the slowest internet connection in the entire southeast Asia region. This is despite being labeled as social media, poor connectivity is the hardest hurdle to overcome with regards to Telehealth in the Philippines. 

When there is poor connectivity, patients cannot send multiple documents at the time to their physicians. There are also delays in the uploading of files and test results, and that will result in late diagnosis. It is indeed a domino effect in Telehealth. 

Video consultations might also be a problem because of this issue. If there is an intermittent connection during video conferencing, the physician and the patient may not be able to communicate well. This is why some patients prefer voice call consultations instead. 

  1. System Upgrades 

Aside from the poor internet connection in the country, the Philippines is also considered to be a developing country. With this, system upgrades may be slower and less advanced compared to other countries. 

This can affect the overall performance of the Telehealth system. A system needs upgrades to have bug fixes, security enhancements, and software updates.  Constantly upgrading your Telehealth system will ensure smooth workflows and responsiveness.

  1. Electronic Payments

Compared to other countries, the Philippines is just starting to incorporate and further develop online banking. Online banking and electronic wallets have been a lot more since the pandemic has started. Most Filipinos are just starting to practice the use of online banking and since Telehealth incorporates online payment in their system, some Filipinos might find it a hassle and may think that their money will not be secured. 

The Philippines has been making progress since the pandemic has started. For starters, the Department of Health and the National Privacy Commission has developed a framework for telehealth services while the country is under quarantine. 

The Department of Health has partnered with different telehealth service providers to provide free consultations to patients in need with different physicians. 

What Filipino physicians and patients like most about the telehealth service are its portability. Physicians can now work and serve their patients anytime and anywhere they may be.

We have listed down the advantages and disadvantages of a Telehealth system here in the Philippines because to better appreciate this digital innovation we must look at it in its totality.

To further help Filipino physicians and patients understand the Telehealth system, Global MD Plus is offering a free trial of ALL of their services for 30 days! Just head on to their website, to register. 


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