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Telehealth to remain in demand even after COVID-19 pandemic

917VENTURES’ telemedicine provider KonsultaMD expects the high demand for subscription-based telehealth services to continue post-pandemic.

“Telehealth is definitely here to stay. COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) has certainly accelerated adoption for it, but it’s not going to disappear post-COVID,” KonsultaMD Chief Executive Officer Cholo A. Tagaysay said during a virtual briefing on Wednesday.

He added that even when coronavirus cases subside, usage of KonsultaMD remains high.

917Ventures, which serves as the corporate venture builder of Globe Telecom, Inc., expects KonsultaMD to follow the footsteps of its sister company Globe Fintech Innovations, Inc. (Mynt), the operator of GCash, in the coming years.

“We’ve had high hopes for KonsultaMD even before the pandemic. We saw it as a way to address the pain points in Philippine healthcare, which was suffering from a lack of healthcare professionals, inadequate health infrastructure, and limited accessibility, not to mention the high cost of medical consultation,” 917Ventures Managing Director Vince T. Yamat said.

“People were wary of using the service before as they are used to traditional face-to-face consultations, but with the pandemic, things have changed. Telehealth has become an important innovation that will stay and evolve,” he added.

According to KonsultaMD, medical consultations on its app have “skyrocketed to 1,549% versus pre-pandemic.” Mr. Tagaysay said he could not disclose the exact figures, but said the service has reached “over one million members who enjoy 24/7 unlimited access to licensed doctors via voice or video call for as low as P60 a month.”

“Our situation has taken away the reluctance of many Filipinos to try telehealth services. People are looking for ways to stay safe from the virus while our hospitals are overwhelmed with patients. KonsultaMD has become a platform that connects Filipinos to much-needed medical consults for non-emergency cases,” he said.

KonsultaMD app users can consult with doctors specializing in different fields — from general medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, rehabilitation medicine, mental health support, psychiatry, dermatology, ophthalmology, dentistry, ENT, and surgery.

KonsultaMD said it also provides digital management of health consultation records and issuance of medical documents such as e-prescriptions, e-laboratory requests, e-referrals, and e-medical certificates. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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