A meeting with Bogo City Health Officer Dr. Rene Galo Palay regarding the teleconsultation program of the ReachHealth Project was conducted on January 13, 2021 at the Bogo City Health Office.
The ReachHealth Project had established a teleconsultation program with Cebu Provincial Hospital – Bogo City and Tabuelan Rural Health Unit. Patients who cannot personally go to the rural health units/city health office of their municipalities /Bogo City can use their cell phones in order to contact medical personnel in the two health facilities and avail of medical consultation and health services by digital technology. The program aims to link the teleconsultation program with the rural health units of Medellin and San Remigio and the City Health Office of Bogo City in order to have their staff disseminate such program to their barangay health stations and residents.
During the meeting with Dr. Palay, the VPHCS staff through Irish Grace Ramirez and Lourdes Geolin presented the teleconsultation program of the ReachHealth project to Dr. Palay. He said that before he got to know about the teleconsultation program of the ReachHealth project, he was already doing teleconsultation through his personal cell phone.
Aside from this, before the COVID-19 pandemic started, he was asked by the Department of Health to participate in its teleconsultation program with a laptop provided to him and his midwives to do video call with patients who would phone in for check up. However, he faced the problem of lack of internet connectivity so that the teleconsultation was not feasible. Thus, he continued to use his personal cell phones to accept teleconsultations from patients. He also said that by doing free clinics in the barangays, the teleconsultations were not many.
Dr. Palay said that the teleconsultation of the ReachHealth project cannot be availed of by residents living in barangays with poor signal or no internet connectivity, or those who cannot afford to pay for load for their cell phones to do video calls and those who do not have android phones to do so.
Dr. Palay said that he preferred to have personal check up with his patients so that he can examine them well and explain to them well about their medical conditions. With teleconsultation, the people cannot be accurately assessed which affects the proper management.
He also said that he has been referring patients who need more specialized care to the Cebu Provincial Hospital – Bogo City.