Metro Manila’s downgrade to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) has been both a welcome development and a frightening prospect. For many employees, the GCQ meant finally returning to work and addressing the bills that had piled up.

The relief didn't last, however, as people began to dread the idea of facing a raging pandemic on the streets. Thinking of the commute and the crowded public spaces can cause anxiety that is hard to ignore.

It only gets harder with most private and government employees being required to secure a medical certificate or a fit to work medical before resuming work.

But not all are eager to visit a hospital in this pandemic. The patient wait-time alone can take anywhere between 2-3 long hours. In addition to the cost and inconvenience of traveling, the danger of possibly contracting COVID-19 is a nagging thought.

A Convenient Alternative: Telemedicine

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced patients and health care providers alike to reconsider the practicality of clinic visits. As a result, many have recognized telemedicine as a safer and convenient alternative when seeking minor health care services.

The World Health Organization broadly defines telemedicine as the “delivery of health care services where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies.”

The government no less, developed a framework and fostered collaborations to boost the telemedicine services available during the quarantine.

DOH is maximizing the use of technology to connect the public with medical professionals, allowing them to secure medical advice without leaving their homes,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

Telemedicine has also emerged as a critical technology in delivering health care without depleting valuable hospital resources like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

A Telemedicine App You Can Download Now

For minor health care services, using a telemedicine platform takes just a few taps on your phone. You can download a telemedicine app such as SeeYouDoc and immediately schedule an online consultation with a health care professional on a date and time that is most convenient for you.

Afterward, your health care practitioner can issue a medical certificate or doctor prescriptions which you can access via the SeeYouDoc app.

Remember that telemedicine practitioners ensure that patients get similar satisfaction from online consultations, as they would from any in-person visit. In a 2019 study, Massachusetts General Hospital concluded that telemedicine patient experiences were positive and just as clinically effective compared with in-persons visits.

Final Thoughts

COVID-19 has caused a massive shift in patient behavior when seeking health care services. With a new focus on safety and convenience, telemedicine’s adoption by patients has been remarkable. With the ubiquity of mobile phones, online consultation platforms like SeeYouDoc can make pandemic life for Filipinos a bit easier.

*The Department of Health (DOH) also offers free online consultations in partnership with SeeYouDoc.