corporate

Teleconsultation comes to the aid of non-Covid patients

May 16, 2020

[14 May 2020] CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—While most businesses are shuttered, and office employees are working from home, the medical community must work hard to stay open to patients yet be tightly guarded by Covid-19 restrictions. The challenge for doctors is how to continue treating their patients even though their clinics are closed.  How can they “meet up” with patients without exposing themselves and their families to the risk of infection? Technology provides a solution: teleconsultation.  It minimizes the need to travel and face to face contact, thus protecting both the patients and health professionals from exposure to health risks.  For the first time in her 30-year practice, Dr. Corazon Mata attends to patients remotely. She is in charge of the obstetrics and gynecology hotline for the Telekonsulta Service of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC).  Every day, she fields queries from ob-gyn patients all over Region 10, which covers the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Bukidnon, Camiguin and Lanao del Norte. With the rapid spread of Covid, other health cases have been overshadowed, with many hospitals like NMMC recording a significant drop in patient consultations at the emergency room and out-patient clinics. The NMMC is a tertiary public hospital and one of the Covid referral centers in the region of 5 million. “This is the main reason we decided to start the NMMC Telekonsulta Service,” says Dr. Aris Austria, Telekonsulta project leader. “We were concerned particularly for our patients with chronic conditions requiring long-term medical care. Every healthcare facility should not focus only on handling the Covid-19 crisis but also consider minimizing ‘collateral damage’ on non-Covid patients.”  The NMMC Telekonsulta Service targets noncritical cases and aims to provide a venue for patients to directly consult medical professionals through their mobile phones.  Smart Communications partnered with the hospital by providing them with LTE phones capable of unlimited texts and calls to all networks and data connection. Each phone was assigned to doctors handling a specific field of specialization, such as pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery or internal medicine. Since the start of the project in late March, the NMMC doctors have collectively handled more than 400 consultations, sent out almost 200 electronic prescriptions and facilitated around 50 referrals. They have also set appointments for actual clinic consultations for cases where a clinic visit is absolutely necessary. “A good part of diagnosing a patient is doing a complete physical,” says Dr. Ramon Yap, an internist-gastroenterologist. “But I believe the majority of patients can be safely managed through teleconsultation, albeit some patients may really have to be seen by a doctor in a clinic or referred to an appropriate institution like NMMC.” The experience is new to his 17-year practice, but he says doctors have to adapt. “The threat to the doctors is very real. We also have to think about protecting ourselves and our families, aside from trying to give comfort and healing to our patients. The limited resources that we have in our locality has made the practice of medicine very daunting and probably even unsettling.” As of the first week of April, the Department of Health (DOH) Region 10 had identified more than 4,000 persons under monitoring and around 300 under investigation. With more cases of Covid-19 positive patients and new admissions of suspected cases, the region’s health officials are not letting their guard down. The doctors admit that there are limitations to what they can perform without a face-to-face interaction, but they are finding ways to cope with this. Dr. Austria, a pediatrician, reports that teleconsultation has necessitated more parental engagement. He tells parents, “listen to the child’s breathing, feel their skin or pulse, touch the tummy, and describe what you find.” It is not the ideal way of examination, he concedes, so doctors should be cautious in utilizing information drawn from a teleconsultation to diagnose a patient’s condition. Pediatrics has the highest number of consultations. Dr. Jannie Lyne Palisbo, whose clinic is closed, is grateful that she can continue to treat her patients from home. “It is reassuring to both the patient and us physicians,” she says. Dr. Austria opines, “Teleconsultation should remain an option for patients under any circumstances that call for it, to hasten medical interventions, and to keep NMMC accessible to all the people in Region 10.”  With doctors and patients engaged in a back-and-forth exchange of information during teleconsultation, he appreciates that Smart ensures unhampered communications. The unlimited texts and calls are “a huge advantage,” enabling doctors to attend to as many patients as possible, he adds. Dr. Peter Quiaoit, NMMC medical training officer, also thanked Smart for making the out-patient department services “a phone call away” in the time of crisis.  “Smart is committed to providing innovative communications solutions that help fight the Covid pandemic.  The NMMC has taken a new path, using technology to enable their doctors to treat patients despite the current restrictions.  That’s why we are quite happy to support their initiative,” said Mon Isberto, Smart public affairs head. This being the institution’s first time to implement teleconsultation, the Telekonsulta team faced a lot of challenges, including a lack of proper guidelines or standard operating procedures, especially in consideration of patients’ informed consent and data privacy. Dr. Austria adds, “We also lacked essential materials, gadgets and enough volunteers to keep teleconsultation running. However, with support from our hospital administration and private companies like Smart, we were able to set it up eventually.” With the proper equipment and appropriate systems in place, teleconsultation will surely be part of the future of medical practice. As access to the internet and data-capable phones increases, there will be huge improvements in teleconsultation results, lowering the risk of misdiagnosis. With the Covid-19 pandemic far from over, and the risks remaining for even longer, interventions such as this will become part of the new normal, and technology will play a huge part.

READ MORE
Phoenix stations offer fuel delivery service to SMEs

May 14, 2020

In another innovative approach to the ongoing pandemic and adapting to the new norm, Phoenix Petroleum, the country’s fastest-growing oil company, launches an accessible and convenient way of providing for the needs of its customers.     Starting today, May 12, 2020, for a minimum order of 3,000 liters of fuels, a delivery option is now available at select Phoenix stations in Mega Manila. Through this program, businesses need not be a Phoenix partner to avail of its fuel products. While Phoenix has been offering delivery of its fuels from depots, it is the first time that the company is offering to deliver fuel straight from retail stations.     “While we continue to provide help to individuals and communities in need during this trying time, Phoenix Petroleum has also been relentless in finding ways to adapt and adjust our business to the new norm. The digital platform has become an essential part of our operations these days, and so far, we have launched various ways for customers to avail of our products online.” Phoenix Petroleum Chief Operating Officer Henry Albert Fadullon said. “At Phoenix, we recognize the critical role of petroleum products to the operations of small and medium enterprises. Thus, to be able to help entrepreneurs get back to business, we launched this fuel delivery service, hoping to provide a more convenient option for customers in need of quality fuel supply during a time when mobility can be challenging.”     Customers only need to send their orders online through email at retailorders@phoenixfuels.ph, Facebook Messenger at facebook.com/phoenixfuels.ph, or by calling at Phoenix official hotlines: PLDT toll-free at 1-800-10-PNXFUEL, Globe toll-free at 1-800-8-PNXFUEL, Smart at 0998-960-4246 to 53, and Globe at 0917-313-7011 to 18.     The final price would include delivery fee and will vary depending on the customer’s location.     Nationwide, Phoenix Petroleum remains 90% of its retail stations operational amid the enhanced community quarantine. These stations have been providing Phoenix fuels to motorists, and are active in supporting initiatives that need fuel sponsorship.

READ MORE
Having a cellsite is one of the best decisions we made – FEU-NRMF

May 14, 2020

The Far Eastern University-Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF) Medical Center is just one of the many hospitals in Metro Manila at the forefront in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.     Since the onset of the global health crisis, the hospital has had its own share of caring for suspected, probable and positive COVID-19 patients. And just like most hospitals, the FEU-NRMF Medical Center is already at its limit when it comes to the number of patients under its care.     If there is one advantage, however, that FEU-NRMF Medical Center has over its counterparts is that it has a Globe cell tower on top of its main building.     Nino Reyes, administrator of FEU-NRMF Medical Center, says the cell site is a key factor in providing them connectivity, information and most of all, a way to implement health protocols among their front liners, patients and their loved ones in a more patient-centric way.     “Sa pandemic natin, (with this pandemic) the cell sites are even more important. Why, because we are now practicing social distancing. We do not allow the companion of our patients to join them. So with these cell sites, we encourage them to do it through Facetime, Viber or other means of social media. So they can see what’s happening,” Reyes explained.     Aside from health protocols, having access to a fast, reliable and convenient access to the internet also allows the hospital to interact with other health experts all over the world especially on the best practices in caring for COVID-19 patients.     “I think that’s the greatest decision that I was a part of because if not, we would probably be in a worst case situation right now. What if kung wala kang signal? (What if we do not have cell sites?) These cell sites afford us better cooperation and communication with the outside world,” Reyes said.     And contrary to misconceptions and wrong information about cell towers, Reyes says since the Globe cell site was put up, there has been no record or report of any medical staff or other health workers who have had cancer because of it.       “A few years ago, I was asked about allowing cell sites to be installed in hospitals because there were perceptions that people are getting cancer due to cell sites.  If I’m not mistaken that was 3 or 4 years ago and thankfully, not one of our patients or any of our staff have been affected. On the contrary, it has helped so many people avoid death dahil sa mabilisang reply nung mga doctors natin (because our doctors are able to reply faster),” Reyes maintained.     “I think with this new normal, we realize that we are more dependent on this technology. Ibig sabihin, yung (it means that) doctors not involved in the frontline, let’s say a neuro or cardio doctor, they don’t need to be exposed. Frontline doctors can consult with them without the danger of getting infected. They don’t need to be physically here to treat their patients, no need to risk themselves nor add to the exponential effect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.       The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2011 placed radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic radiation coming from cell sites BELOW the “ban” category, which is deemed safe. The WHO agency classified RF radiation from cell sites as “2B,” wherein peanut butter, pickled vegetables, coffee, and aloe vera are also included.     Moreover, the WHO has declared that cell site emissions coming from its power source as non-ionizing, meaning it can cause no harm to animal or human cells.

READ MORE
DENR 10 CENRO Oroquieta City backs some LGUs of MisOcc in the fight against COVID-19

May 14, 2020

In response to the letter requests from various Local Government Units (LGUs) of Misamis Occidental, DENR 10 - Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) of Oroquieta City donated logs and lumbers for the construction of COVID-19 quarantine facilities and quarters in their respective jurisdictions.     These quarantine facilities and quarters shall be used to accommodate the Persons Under Monitoring and Persons Under Investigation in Oroquieta City and municipalities of Aloran and Jimenez. In particular, the LGU of Oroquieta City received 859 pieces of lumbers (mahogany, falcata, marang and gmelina) with a total volume of 3,849.99 bd. ft last April 20, 2020.      Meanwhile, the LGU of Aloran received logs and lumbers (mahogany and narra) with a volume of 4,240 bd. ft. on April 23, 2020. Likewise, a total volume of 3,760.88 bd. ft. of logs and lumbers (mahogany, gmelina and mangium) was received by the LGU of Jimenez last April 28, 2020. The said logs and lumbers given to the two municipalities were derived from the trees affected by the road widening project of the DPWH.     DENR 10 remains committed to support the relentless efforts of the government to suppress the proliferation of COVID-19 pandemic in the country. (With report from PENRO Misamis Occidental) #TayoAngKalikasan

READ MORE
Ford Implements Safety Measures In Dealership Locations Under General Community Quarantine

May 14, 2020

Ford Philippines has opened a number of its Ford dealerships in areas and locations already on general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May 1, 2020, with an absolute priority to ensure a safe and sanitary environment for all Ford customers and dealership employees.     Ford Tacloban opened its dealership facility in April 15, 2020 while observing strict safety standards to protect its employees and customers. Meanwhile, all Ford dealerships that opened from May 1 to 4, 2020, including Ford Tacloban, are operating on normal business hours.     New and enhanced tools, processes, and policies have been implemented across the Ford dealer network designed to mitigate potential risks and provide peace of mind to anyone visiting a Ford dealership.     “We’re keen to have things start returning to the “new normal” across our dealer network, while continuing to keep the health and safety of our Ford customers and entire dealership team as our highest priority,” said PK Umashankar, managing director, Ford Philippines.     “Customers visiting any Ford dealership will see very clearly the safeguards that are in place – with all customers required to comply with these protocols – while having all sales and service personnel and functions available to serve them,” added Umashankar.     Ford dealers are progressively rolling out within the next few days the following measures to safeguard customers and employees alike:     • Anyone entering a Ford dealership, including all dealer employees, contractors, and customers, will have their temperature checked with no-touch infrared thermometers     • The dealership layout/floor plan, including customer waiting areas, will be re-organized to ensure appropriate social distancing     • All Ford dealer personnel are required to wear face masks and gloves at all times; with a hazardous waste container onsite for disposal of all masks, gloves and other potentially contaminated items     • Social distancing rules will be enforced in all customer interactions, and shaking hands will not be allowed     • All Ford dealerships will be thoroughly disinfected three (3) times each day     • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be available across the dealerships, particularly in high visibility and high traffic areas     • If an employee is experiencing any flu-like symptoms, he or she will be asked to promptly seek medical advice and return only when/if free of symptoms     Ford dealerships will also be implementing the following sales and service initiatives: Vehicle Sanitation     All vehicles will be meticulously sanitized after any service visit. Dealers will use recommended cleaning products and procedures to ensure that vehicles are clean and safe when returned to customers. Remote Sales Support     Remote sales support with a Ford sales professional will give customers a first-hand shopping experience without them having to leave home. Finance     Ford dealers will continue working with finance lenders to extend credit terms and defer some monthly payments. Approvals of extensions or deferral support will be at the finance partner’s discretion.     All Ford customers whose warranty coverage have expired during the quarantine period are advised to visit their respective Ford dealers to resolve their concerns related to expired warranties.     “While opening our Ford dealerships to provide in-person service is a welcome move forward, our aim is to work very closely with each of our dealers to ensure we are providing the safest and sanitary environment possible,” shared Umashankar.     Customers who want to inquire about and purchase a Ford vehicle can also access the various online platforms (official website and Facebook page) and available hotline numbers of Ford dealerships nationwide. The details can be accessed on Ford Philippines’ Facebook page.     The opening of the majority of Ford dealerships located in Luzon (including Metro Manila), as well as some dealerships in Visayas and Mindanao will be scheduled in time for the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine. The remaining dealerships in Visayas and Mindanao in areas on general community quarantine will open upon clearance from their respective local government units. Updates will be posted on Ford Philippines’ social media accounts accordingly.

READ MORE
Filinvest Tent now ready for use as health facility

May 14, 2020

Filinvest Tent in Alabang, Muntinlupa City  is now ready for use as a COVID-19 mega quarantine facility.     The Filinvest Tent ‘We Heal As One Center’ was set up by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in collaboration with the private sector.     In a ceremony held May 13, 2020, the management and operation of the 108-bed quarantine center was formally turned over to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) after it was inspected by National Action Plan Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. together with Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, DPWH Undersecretary & Head of Task Force for Augmentation of Health Facilities Emil K. Sadain, OCD Administrator Ricardo B. Jalad, and BFP Chief Jose S. Embang Jr.      DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar said that the Filinvest Tent is the ninth mega quarantine facilities prepared by the government in partnership with the private sector.      The construction materials for the redesigning and transformation of Filinvest Tent into makeshift hospital was sponsored by Filinvest City Foundation.      On the otherhand, the Yuchengco-led construction firm EEI Corporation provided the manpower for the repurposing of Filinvest Tent into a quarantine facility while the hospital beds were donated by the Villar Group of Companies.      Nexgen Asia, PLDT, SMART, and Meralco also helped in making this quarantine facility more conducive for patients and frontliners.

READ MORE

Subscribe Now!

Receive email updates from Mindanao Daily News.