Metro Pacific Hospitals Holdings Inc. (MPHHI), the hospital group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan, is investing on e-pharmacy, virtual consultation, mobile laboratories, and remote patient monitoring to cater to more patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, MPHHI said it is stepping up efforts to find a “new normal” solution, mainly through telemedicine, for its member hospitals.
Right now, there are 16 hospitals operating under MPHHI, including Makati Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital (OLLH), and De Los Santos Medical Center.
“The country’s health care system faces unprecedented challenges because of the ongoing pandemic, caused by a virus that is unfamiliar, and seems easily transmitted,” said Metro Pacific Investment Corporation (MPIC) chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Pangilinan recently designated OLLH as the main COVID referral facility of MPHHI.
Right now, MPHHI is now seriously looking into possible modern information and communication technologies to connect medical professionals with patients in lieu of actual physical meet-ups in hospitals or clinics.
“MPHHI believes that using telemedicine and remote patient monitoring for management of chronic diseases can minimize, though not totally prevent, physical visits of patients to healthcare facilities,” said Eriene Lao, chief information officer of MPHHI.
According to her, some hospitals in the group have already deployed telemedicine solutions for virtual consultation but noted that these solutions were mainly developed in-house.
Lao said that telemedicine, literally meaning “healing at a distance”, could hold the promise of delivering patient-centered care in a post-pandemic era, explaining that it could allow for better management of chronic diseases earlier and prevent patients from showing up in a healthcare setting that can expose them to the COVID-19 virus.
“We feel there are a business and operational opportunities here,” she said.
“Hospitals can optimize the utilization of their bed capacity, improve the efficiency of the healthcare workers, allow collaboration of medical team from different hospitals, and give remote hospitals access to more experienced medical practitioners in big hospitals,” she further said.
Still, Lao said that face-to-face interaction between a doctor and a patient is still persistent.
MPHHI hospitals group now implement strict safety protocols, limiting to five patients daily, observing physical distancing, wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE), and changing gowns after every other patient.