In its bid to deliver innovative services for its customers, Globe Telecom, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Yondu, has formed a joint venture with Salud Interactiva to launch KonsultaMD, a 24/7 health hotline service manned by skilled and licensed Filipino doctors who provide medical assessment and advice, including basic healthcare and permissible medication over the phone.
“KonsultaMD is our response to the pain points in Philippine healthcare. The growing population puts 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. Throw in long wait times and high cost of medical consultation which further discourage people from seeking medical advice and instead push them towards self-medication,” said Gil B. Genio, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Business and International Markets.
He added: “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 address many challenges facing the industry.”
As early as 2012, Globe already saw a potentially significant opportunity to improve access to quality healthcare using technological advances.
One of the company’s efforts in the healthcare sector is Globe HealthCloud, an end-to-end web-based health ICT solution that enables real-time, secure and convenient access to health information. Globe also tied up with ACCESS Health to provide fast and efficient access to maternal and child care services as well as with the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) for a mobile communications campaign that provides information and referrals to HIV counseling, testing and life-saving treatment programs.
Globe Telecom’s newest venture also underscores the important role telecommunications play in transforming the way healthcare is provided worldwide. Through information and communications technology (ICT), telecom companies are able to provide practical solutions for cost effective provision of modern healthcare. Among the telecom companies already offering such services are: Vodafone (USA), AT&T (USA), Telmex (Mexico), Orange Telecom (France), Turkcell (Africa), Telefonica (Spain), Airtel (India), Grameenphone (Bangladesh), MTN (Africa), and STC (South Africa).
To make KonsultaMD work, Globe tapped Yondu for its extensive range of IT and mobile services and Salud Interactiva, a leader in the health hotline space which has successfully implemented a similar activity in Mexico. Salud Interactiva is represented by Jorge Aspuru, Chief Operations Officer for KonsultaMD.
Salud Interactiva is one of the foremost companies in the integration and dynamics of healthcare services in Mexico. It currently operates the largest telephone medical assistance center in the country where it gives the opportunity to different sections of the population to obtain medical service via the phone 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
“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,” said Jorge Aspuru, Salud Interactiva Chief Operating Officer and KonsultaMD Chief Operating Advisor.
“This time, we bring to the Philippines 20 years of experience in health hotline. We believe that this will be highly-beneficial to Filipinos given the similar scenario in the Philippines and Mexico insofar as health infrastructure and services are concerned,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gia Sison gave assurance that all doctors being tapped by KonsultaMD “are skilled and licensed.”
“We follow the Cleveland Clinic protocols for consistent quality medical advice so all our doctors will give almost the same assessment or advice as long as the caller provides them with the same symptoms, manifestation, and other information. However, this initial assessment should not replace actual physical assessment although our doctors will definitely inform the caller if there is a need to see a doctor,” Sison said.
To avail of the service, Globe and TM customers may avail of flexible and affordable unlimited call plans. Globe Postpaid customers only need to pay a subscription fee of P150 per month, which includes four household members. Subscription is free for two months upon enrolment and the monthly charge will apply on the third month onwards. Globe Prepaid and TM customers may subscribe for P15 a week while the fee is waived for Platinum Elite members.
Calls using Globe or TM is charged P1 per minute while calls within Metro Manila via landline is free. Non-Globe users have to pay the standard NDD rate for calls outside Metro Manila or regular mobile to landline rate, whichever is applicable.