JULY 19, 2020

The doctor is online

BY THE PASYAL TEAM
ART BY VISUAL HABIT DESIGN

Talk about “on call”: a virtual medical consultation may save you a risky trip to the ER.

“The call came at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, just when I was tucking in for an early night before another work week,” Gerry* starts. “My dad and I usually just text, so imagine my shock when I received a call from him complaining that he wasn’t feeling well and wanted us to head to the emergency room.” 

Having a sick parent who needed to be rushed to the hospital is one of worst things that could happen at this time, Gerry thought, but she kept her calm and put to mind that given the present situation, calling for an online consultation is recommended before rushing to emergency rooms where people could be more susceptible to the virus.

Completely clueless, she quickly got to work and coasted between Google and crowdsourcing groups on Facebook to figure out how to get her dad in an online consultation ASAP, and on a Sunday night.

Thankfully, technology came through. Despite being new to the world of virtual consultations, doubting its effectivity and managing her dad’s unease, Gerry was able to download the Konsulta MD app in a matter of minutes, subscribe to a 99 peso-per-month unlimited consultations plan, get on a call with a physician and connect the call to her dad, who quickly relayed his symptoms to the doctor.

Gerry heaves a sigh of relief as she recalls her story. “Thankfully, any viral infection was ruled out, and it saved me and especially my immunocompromised dad a trip to the ER.”

Online consultations may seem foreign, and most of it carry a disclaimer that it cannot replace an actual specialist consultation (in Gerry’s case, they recommended her father see one).

However, they certainly help in easing the burden of overloaded hospitals, and is able to provide immediate care for non-emergency cases without having to run the risk of being contaminated within hospital grounds.

You’d be surprised that most of these online consultation services cost less than P200 monthly, which is a small price to pay for the assurance that a doctor will be available to “see” you 24 hours a day, in the safety of your own home.

But before you subscribe, check if your specialist or trusted doctor offers online consultations—most do nowadays, and you can transact with them directly. However, for all your general medical needs, these apps below might just spell the difference between panic and peace of mind.

1. Konsulta MD

For P99 pesos debited from your cellphone load monthly, get on unlimited and 24/7 telephone consultations with physicians, and up to three free video calls. Globe and TM customers who make calls to the Konsulta MD hotline will not incur call charges.

Image from Konsulta MD on Facebook

E-prescriptions are also given by physicians via email or SMS. The app also offers mental health consultations.

2. QualiMed TeleCheQ

Another teleconsultations platform powered by Konsulta MD, QualiMed has a team of specialists available for online consultations: specialists from Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and other medical specialties are available by appointment.

Image from QualiMed TeleCheQ on Facebook

3. Kitika

Aside from online consultations with general practitioners, Kitika offers treatment plans upon hearing your symptoms, or direct referrals to accredited partner specialists if needed.

Image from Kitika on Facebook

Upon request, the app also offers medicine deliveries so remain at home.

4. Medifi

Unlike other online consultation apps, Medifi does not charge a monthly subscription fee for patients—they instead bill patients per consultation.

Image from Medifi on Facebook

Also, the app allows for you to reach your home doctor when you travel abroad—a perk we can’t enjoy for now, but is good to have for when we can take out-of-the-country trips again.

5. Infinitcare Co

It’s especially challenging to take care of one’s mental health in the midst of an anxiety-riddled pandemic, but thankfully, much-needed psychiatry sessions have made their way to the virtual space.

Image from Infinitcare on Facebook

Try Infinitcare, which provides 60 minutes of online counselling per session. Purchasing a single session costs P2,500, but the price goes lower as you purchase multiple sessions as a bundle.

6. Belo

Who says a trip to the derma can’t be done online? For all your skincare woes brought about by the pandemic, Belo offers virtual consultations with its trusted branch doctors, surgeons, and even Dra. Vicky Belo herself!

Between finding a solution to skin problems or wanting to consult regarding a cosmetic procedure you’d like to have, a Belo Live session is here for the taking. Order and book a consult by visiting the Belo e-shop.

Image from Belo Medical Group Philippines on Facebook

For a quick fix, follow our makeup tutorial made especially for the perpetually masked face. 

Disclaimer: Before downloading these apps and subscribing, visit each of these websites (linked above) to read more on their inclusions, limitations and services to choose one that best fits your needs.

*Not her real name