Health centers in Chile have already provided more than 6,000 remote services. This form of attention has increased in the last month since the Superintendency of Health authorized doctors to attend their patients by videoconference.
Although telemedicine has existed since the beginning of the century, it has expanded recently in response to the isolation imposed by the global health emergency, which has given it paramount importance.
In the United States, medical centers like the Cleveland Clinic have reported that demand for virtual care has grown by more than 1,000% since coronavirus began to spread.
Similarly, in Chile, health centers have already provided more than 6,000 remote services. This form of attention has increased in the last month since the Superintendency of Health authorized doctors to attend their patients by videoconference.
“The hospital crisis has meant a need to resolve demand for online care as it has occurred and many of the country’s clinics and medical centers have addressed this,” says Miguel Beiza, assistant manager of datacenter business and IT at Fleischmann. “Applications such as teleconsultation, telemonitoring and telecare will begin to be implemented quite intensely in practically all medical areas - from general medicine to cardiology - as from the second half of the year,” he says.
The contribution of multinationals in Chile
According to the general manager of InterSystems Chile, Martín Kozak, the arrival of COVID has, in many cases, meant the direct implementation of telemedicine tools, rather than an update of these technologies.
“But, to be fair, what has mostly been seen are really teleconsultation tools. A good job has been done in quickly adopting them, taking into account a context that means greater regulatory flexibility as well as evident demand on the part of patients,” says Kozak.
Sergio Rademacher, general manager of Microsoft Chile, notes that: “As innovation is continuously being integrated into healthcare operations and services, there will be ongoing development of digital medical attention, paving the way for innovation to establish a strong technological foundation for the future of medicine and healthcare.”
One of Microsoft’s clients in Chile is the Mutual de Seguridad. “Although this pandemic means we have advanced in telemedicine, people in their different contexts were not fully prepared and the pandemic encouraged them to use it, which has been tremendously beneficial in helping to not increase cases,” says Felipe Bunster, general manager of the Mutual.
A new type of general practitioner
A concept that is growing strongly is that of family medicine, but at a distance. It involves comprehensive attention for individuals and the family group based on the classic general practitioner. According to Dr. Marcelo Gallardo, a specialist in family medicine and emergencies, “it is very important because it allows us to accompany people and take the weight off medical services that are very stressed today.”
Xintec, a technology company from Ireland, has implemented the concept of family telemedicine for employees in Chile who are working remotely. The program provides them with advice and medical attention through video calls twice a week.
To find out more about Chile as a digital hub and the implementation of new technologies, see this article.