Since Mexican medical network Salud Interactiva introduced a telephone medical assistance service in the country over 20 years ago, it has received over 10 million medical calls from people seeking medical advice for ordinary ailments and emergencies.
The service today still gives medical service via the phone 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, and is even expanding its global presence.
Yondu, a subsidiary of Globe Telecom, is introducing innovative health services model in the Philippines in partnership with Salud Interactiva to address the pain points in Philippine healthcare.
KonsultaMD, the new 50-50 joint venture of Yondu and Salud Interactiva, set up a 24/7 health hotline service manned by skilled and licensed doctors who provide medical assessment and advice, including basic healthcare and permissible medication over the phone.
Gil B. Genio, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Business and International Markets, Globe Telecom, said the growing population (of over 100 million) is putting further pressure to an already strained healthcare landscape which is suffering from lack of experienced healthcare professionals, under-resourced public hospitals, poor health infrastructure and limited accessibility. He said the country has only about 70,000 practicing doctors or a relatively small ratio of .7 doctors per 1,000 people.
“Throw in long wait times and the high cost of medical consultation which further discourage people from seeking medical advice and instead push them towards self-medication," he said.
“We envision the health hotline to provide easy access to medical advice and more efficient health care because it costs significantly less to talk to a doctor than a personal visit, thus, we are confident that through this revolutionary service, we would be able to address many challenges facing the industry."
Jorge Aspuro, Salud Interactiva Chief Operating Officer and KonsultaMD Chief Operating Advisor, said the service could be highly beneficial to Filipinos given the similar scenario of the Philippines and Mexico in so far as health services and infrastructure are concerned.
“The idea of creating a medical call center in Mexico came about after one of our founders used a telephone medical service during a trip to the US. There was at that time, an enormous number of patients in Mexico that could be assisted in a different way without following the traditional medical assistance. That experience led to the creation of Salud Interactiva and the medical hotline service called MedicallHome," he said.
In bringing highly successful telephone medical assistance to the Philippines, Aspuro said it gathered licensed and skilled to evaluate the patients’ medical conditions based on symptoms.
Dr. Gia Sison, KonsultaMD’s Chief Medical Officer, said that the service is not affiliated with any hospital or pharmaceutical company. It is bound by the laws of telemedicine which means it can only advise permissible over the counter medications.