CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Medical practitioners of a government-owned medical facility in this city has shifted to a new method of consultation as health protocols continue to be in effect amid the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Doctors at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) are now giving health advice to patients through teleconsultation, dubbed as Telekonsulta, as a measure to avoid physical interaction with patients.
Dr. Corazon Mata, in-charge of the Obstetrics and Gynecology hotline for the said service, said they have decided the virtual type of consultation to minimize the need to travel and face-to-face contact, thus protecting both patients and healthcare professionals from exposure to health risks.
Telekonsulta targets non-critical cases and aims to provide a venue for patients to directly consult medical professionals through their mobile phones. Hotline numbers were provided for the patients of internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, and obstetrics and gynecology. Its services are available Mondays to Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
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In her 30-year practice, this is the first time that Mata attends to her patients remotely. Every day, she caters to Ob-Gyn patients from all over Northern Mindanao, which covers the provinces of Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental.
The NMMC is a tertiary public hospital and one of the COVID-19 referral centers in the region of five million residents. As most of its facilities are being utilized to accommodate confirmed COVID-19 cases, other patients are either being referred to other hospitals or being served through teleconsultation.
“This is the main reason we decided to start the NMMC Telekonsulta Service,” said Dr. Aris Austria, the project leader. He added they were concerned with patients with chronic conditions who would require long-term medical care.
Other health cases have already been overshadowed by COVID-19 with many hospitals, including the NMMC, recording a significant drop in the number of patient consultations at the emergency room and outpatient clinics as the contagious disease rapidly spread.
Austria advised that every healthcare facility should not focus only on handling the COVID-19 crisis but should also consider minimizing “collateral damage” on non-COVID patients.
The public has been encouraged by Mayor Oscar Moreno, in his previous briefings, to avail the teleconsultation services especially those with preexisting medical conditions or those who are immunocompromised to protect themselves from health risks. (davaotoday.com)