Amidst President Rodrigo Duterte second extension of the expanded community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila and other parts of the country to May 15, 2020, a senior senator endorsed the use of telemedicine to help ease up the pain and sufferings of Filipinos as a result of the crippling effects of the national lockdowns due to COVID-19.
Senator Manny Pacquiao, in a radio statement , Sunday afternoon over DZMM, said that the use of telemedicine can help our people to cope up with the effects of the ECQ when they need medical consultations in these difficult times.
Pacquiao said “ First our ECQ was prolonged because our country’s problem was not yet resolve. Our lockdown was prolonged and the hospital lines are now getting longer. The problem of the Filipinos now is how they can consult a doctor if they are sick,”
“Not only of covid- 19.. but all other diseases… and how they can go to a hospital without being infected by covid-19,” he said.
That’s why last March, the Philippine Medical Association and the Private Hospital Association of the Philippines, Inc. suggested to him a way how people can consult a doctor without going to hospital, he said.
Called DOCPH or Digital Online Consultation for our Peoples Healthcare, the online site help greatly the people and they don’t need to go to the hospital unless deemed necessary, he said.
“Pacquiao said DOCPH is an original innovation of the League of Data-privacy and Cyber-security Advocates of the Philippines (LEADCAP) that it is openly shared free of charge to various healthcare organizations for their use in order for them to help people during the pandemic by utilizing the high technology of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital robotics in the triage protocol of a telemedicine system.
DOCPH was designed and is being implemented by medical groups as a free medical consultation facility that primarily aims to help ease the huge number of patients flocking overwhelmed hospitals or medical clinics due to the current crisis, he said.
By providing an effective and professional telemedicine services nationwide directly to the people, DOCPH and its partners intends to help decongest the country’s overheating healthcare system so that it can again efficiently serve not only COVID-19 cases but other equally important non-covid (common ailments) cases even if the patient is at home, said LEADCAP President and former Senator Joey Lina.
PMA vice president Dr. Benito Atienza said a consortium of private medical organizations is involved in the daily operations of DOCPH free online consultations nationwide.
This is headed by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and supported by the Private Hospital Association of the Philippines (PHAPi), Beta Sigma Fraternity Medical Group, and the Philippine Digital Medicine Society (PDMS) to mention a few (but growing) partners in this noble project for the sake of our country and people.
“We started with 100 licensed medical doctors who volunteered from the PMA and another 100 licensed medical doctors from the Beta Sigma Fraternity Medical Group. We have targeted initially 1000 volunteer doctors but you will be surprised by the enthusiasm shown by our dedicated physicians in serving our nation. However, as I speak, we are now averaging 3000 calls a day from all over the country so we are appealing to our colleagues in the medical field to join us online in serving our people from the comforts of their homes,“ Atienza added.
“The project was conceptualized in March 2020 and has undergone several testing for almost 2 months until its was formally launched last April 20, 2020. The website (www.docph.org) initially got 10,000 clicks or hits upon full operation. Filipino doctors who are serving at DOCPH comes not only from the Philippines but also are coming from other parts of the world like Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East and these are our Filipino doctors who belongs to the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) sector and who are now lending a helping hand to our countrymen here in the Philippines through DOCPH telemedicine system despite the far away distance and locations where they are now,” declared Beta Sigma Fraternity Medical Group spokesman Dr Vic Fileto Chua.
“The Private Hospital Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPi) can provide a backend support to the project. Our members nationwide can provide referral hospitals geographically located for doctors at DOCPH to tap if the need arises,” PHAPi President Rustico Jimenez explained.
“In this age of digital technology practical innovations expand geometrically almost instantly. A critical need usually triggers a process that seeks and produces a solution to the need at hand. DOCPH is such an example. It was born out of a necessity to help in the crucial problem plaguing the overheating healthcare system of our country,” Philippine Digital Medicine Society President Dr Hildegard Dineros concluded./Stacy Ang