‘Talk to a doctor’: Doctors share tips on how to get health checkups safely during a pandemic
MANILA, Philippines – During a global health crisis like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the preventive health check is among the hardest hit.
The paper “Impact of COVID-19 on health systems in the Philippines” by Diana Beatriz S. Bayani and Soon Guan Tan presented a “preliminary examination of the collateral impact of COVID-19 on health systems in the Philippines”.
The authors wrote that travel restrictions and fear of contracting the virus were factors affecting the delivery of health systems in the Philippines.
“Transport and border restrictions introduced by community quarantine measures have had a universal impact on access and delivery of health services. Rapid investigations by various agencies reflected reduced access to basic services and health facilities in the earlier phase of the pandemic, ”they wrote.
They continued, “Care-seeking behaviors among providers and patients have also changed due to NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) and fear of contracting COVID-19. On the supply side, measures to contain COVID-19 have siphoned off. a significant workforce and resources that provide day-to-day essential services.
The study cited various reports such as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) investigation conducted April 5-8, 2020 covering all regions of the Philippines with 47.6% of the National Capital Region. The survey sample size was 389,859 people.
The results of the NEDA survey indicate that 38.5% of those questioned said they had encountered difficulties in accessing health facilities, while 49.1% encountered difficulties in accessing pharmacies.
Considering these factors, doctors and healthcare professionals always call on the public to seek advice for their medical concerns. As we often say, prevention is better than cure.
Here is the advice doctors shared at the recent ‘Talk to Doc’ roundtable for those looking to seek their doctor’s advice in the midst of the pandemic.
A program supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, “Talk to Doc” aims to encourage patients to talk to doctors for appropriate and timely care during the pandemic. Here are tips from the panel discussion chaired by Dr. Helen Ong-Garcia of St. Luke’s Global City Medical Center; Dr Patrick Gerard Moral from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Santo Tomas and Einstein Rojas from the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations:
Do not hesitate!
Doctors recommend doing a self-assessment, especially when you think or feel that there are underlying conditions. It is better to manage health conditions early than to wait for an emergency to occur.
Reconnect with your doctor. If you still have to look for one, ask your family and friends for recommendations. They may already have trusted doctors to recommend. You can also call the hospital. More often than not, the front desk can give you options. The key is to reach the doctor’s medical secretary.
Connect with medical secretaries
They will guide you through your trip, until you see your doctor. They will inform you of the consultation schedule – face to face, virtual or both. They will also know about other concerns such as the protocols of your online or in-person consultations.
With virtual consultations like KonsultaMD, you can have 24/7 access to licensed physicians when you need them and when you need them – no appointment necessary. You can get unlimited access to KonsultaMD through subscription plans like Globe At Home’s Unli Fiber Up.
Write it down
Make a list of things you want to see and ask your doctor. If this is an in-person visit, be sure to follow the Interagency Task Force minimum health protocols. If this is a virtual consultation, try to understand how the platform works. Make sure your sound is clear, the signal is stable, and your gadget is fully charged.
Follow your doctor’s advice
It’s a golden rule, whether it’s doing labs, taking medication, adopting a healthier lifestyle, or coming back for a follow-up visit. Talking to your doctor won’t work if you don’t follow the care prescribed for you.