This week, the government started mulling more on telemedicine and telehealth services for patients who have tested positive for COVID 19 virus, given the continuing spike in infections and deaths.
But what are these services? Telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. In simple terms, this means the exchange of medical information from one location to another using electronic communication, which improves patient health status.
In some instances, telehealth may be used to refer to a broader area of remote healthcare, which does not include clinical services.
Let’s get a better understanding of what telemedicine refers to, given the pandemic that we are in now.
This refers to the use of information technologies and electronic communications to provide remote clinical services to patients.
The digital transmission of medical imaging, remote medical diagnosis, and evaluations, and video consultations with specialists are all examples of telemedicine.
Telemedicine, which enables video or phone appointments between a patient and their health care practitioner, benefits both health and convenience. More health care providers are offering to “see” patients by computer and smartphone.
Would the use of a phone to consult one’s doctor be considered part of telemedicine or telehealth?
According to the American Telemedicine Association “telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status.
Generally, telemedicine is not an audio-only, telephone conversation, e-mail/instant messaging conversation, or fax.
More complex telemedicine solutions, especially those used by larger health systems, usually require a telemedicine cart.
This piece of telemedicine equipment gives providers a mobile frame and storage system to carry cameras, computer monitors, keyboards, computers, and mobile medical devices.
What is the difference between telehealth and telemedicine?
Telehealth refers broadly to electronic and telecommunications technologies and services used to provide care and services at-a-distance.
What’s the difference? Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, while telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services.
There are three main types of telemedicine, which include store-and-forward, remote monitoring, and real-time interactive services.
Each of these has a beneficial role to play in overall health care and, when utilized properly, can offer tangible benefits for both healthcare workers and patients.
Looks like telemedicine and telehealth services may be convenient to those in the urban areas. But we worry about those in the rural areas where there may not be a telephone or where the signal may be erratic.
But anyway, this week, acting Presidential Spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles
said some local government units are already providing medicines for their constituents based on their capacity.
In Metro Manila, which reported 28,572 infections on Sunday alone, most, if not all, of the local government units have a telemedicine or telehealth hotline.
That is the idea that the government wants to be replicated in other provinces and cities and, Nograles said, “that’s what we’re pushing for.”
But he admitted that would depend on the budget, stressing that the LGUs can, on their own, give their constituents the necessary medicines.
Nograles urged LGUs outside Metro Manila to also consider providing free telemedicine services and if possible, COVID-19 home care packages with the start of the implementation of the Supreme Court’s Mandanas ruling expanding local governments’ share in national taxes.
He said LGUs get a big share of the P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, getting a P959.04 billion share through their National Tax Allotment, formerly called the Internal Revenue Allotment, according to the Department of Budget and Management.
The huge increase was due to the implementation of the Mandanas ruling which determined that the “just share” of LGUs shall be sourced from “all national taxes and not only national internal revenue taxes.”
Nograles said it would also be the LGU as well as local health officers to determine whether asymptomatic or mild Covid-19 patients within their localities should isolate at home or be transferred to local isolation facilities.
In the meanwhile, we share the hope of Malacañang to see more local government units providing telemedicine and telehealth services for patients who tested positive for coronavirus disease 2019. (ai/mtvn)