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Tips to Get Started on Using Telehealth in the Philippines

by GMDP November 08 2021

The Telehealth system has been in the healthcare industry for many years already, but since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, Telehealth has become a need more than just a want for healthcare providers. 


Although Telehealth is widely used in different countries around the world, the Philippines is just starting to adjust and incorporate Telehealth into the country’s healthcare system. The Philippine Medical Association has released a Telemedicine Guide for Filipino Physicians, to further encourage physicians to incorporate Telehealth into their practice. 


The document answers the questions like Who can practice telemedicine, What are the minimum competencies to practice telemedicine, and  What are the minimum requirements to set up for telemedicine. 


Who can practice telemedicine?


The document says that any healthcare provider or independent physician who has a valid Philippine Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) license can practice Telemedicine with their patients residing in the Philippines. 


The minimum competencies to practice telemedicine: 


The document has stated that digital communication skills, clinical acumen, and knowledge of technology and equipment to be used while adhering to ethical practice are requirements to practice Telemedicine. 


The minimum requirements to set up for telemedicine: 


Physicians and patients need to have a communication device like a smartphone, tablet, or computer. If Telemedicine is through voice calls, a camera is not needed anymore. However, if it is through video-conferencing, a phone with a camera is a must and the location for the virtual consultation is well-lit, as stated in the document. 


The requirements in acquiring a telemedicine service are pretty much the same in acquiring a telehealth service. As long as you have a service provider, electronic devices, and an internet connection, you may already more or less integrate telehealth into your healthcare. 


No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the use of telehealth among healthcare providers and patients, yet even after the pandemic, experts say Telehealth is here to stay. 


That is why for patients, it is important to be prepared with your expected goals as well as know your responsibilities before attending your first telehealth consultations. 


We have listed down 6 tips that you can practice to ensure that your telehealth consultations are as effective as they can be.


  1. Write down your questions, concerns, symptoms, and medications beforehand. 


Showing physical symptoms can sometimes be hard in a live video consultation, that is why it is important for patients to take pictures so that their physicians can better look into the concern and give an appropriate diagnosis. 


Human, as we are, talking to someone, might cause us to be carried away in the conversation and may cause us to miss some important details. Physicians may often times patients what medications they are currently taking and it's important for patients to list the details down to avoid missed information and to also save time. 


If there are concerns and questions patients want to address, it would really help them if they list them down. To ensure that after the consultation, all inquiries are answered. 


  1. Prepare medical devices and keep them close 


Prior to the consultation, patients can now take their vital signs, temperature, and measure their pulse at the comfort of their homes. 


However, physicians may sometimes require a reading during your consultation, so keeping your medical devices close will save you time and effort. 


  1. Prepare your electronic devices beforehand 


Whether you want to use your phone, laptop, or computer, it is important to make sure that your devices are working properly and that their battery percentage is high enough to conduct the consultation. 


It is important to also secure an internet connection to ensure that the consultation will be smooth and with none or only minor technical difficulties. 


  1. Stay in a private and comfortable area


During video consultations, it is important to be in a comfortable place because you do not know how long the consultation will run. It is also important to not be distracted by background noise that can be caused when you are staying in a public place. 


It is also encouraged to wear earphones or headphones during consultations to reduce outside noises and for your voice to be clear and audible. 


  1. Prepare your latest medical records 


It is possible for patients to have multiple physicians. For your telehealth physician to better understand your condition, it is suggested that patients need to prepare their latest medical records ready prior to the consultation. 


Physicians may sometimes ask questions about your latest medical results and having to look for it during the consultation proper will be a waste of time and will be a cause of delay for diagnosis. 


  1. Ask for a summary


Most telehealth consultations are not recorded, and even if they are, it is advisable to ask for a summary of the consultation from your physician. 


Patients can write down the reminders given to them by the physician and clarify at the end of the consultation if the reminders are indeed correct. 


Email reminders are usually sent out prior to the schedule of the virtual consultation.  It is important for patients to regularly check their email inboxes or patient portals for information regarding their telehealth schedules. 


With this kind of digital healthcare innovation, patients are more engaged in their own health. Telehealth providers in the Philippines, just like Global MD Plus, aim to improve the quality of healthcare in the country through healthcare innovations. 


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