Lawmaker files measure to institutionalize telemedicine

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — With the importance of electronic healthcare proven during the COVID-19 pandemic, Quezon City Rep. Patrick Michael Vargas has filed a bill institutionalizing telemedicine.

In House Bill 9518, Vargas underscored the need to institutionalize telemedicine to “address the existing gaps in the healthcare system that the pandemic revealed.”

The measure seeks to “create an innovative, unified and comprehensive policy framework for the practice and development of telemedicine in the country.”

It also seeks to further ensure access to healthcare services such as consultation, diagnosis, treatment and prescription of medicines, especially in areas that have inadequate or are far from traditional healthcare institutions and services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic … immensely challenged the healthcare system with the barriers imposed by the lockdowns and curfews, the resource-limited facilities and the overall capability of the health system,” the bill’s explanatory note declared.

The bill stated that by institutionalizing and allowing information and communication technology in the process of healthcare services delivery especially in time of emergencies and disasters, “the State shall strengthen the health system and infrastructure in the country.”

This will then enable Filipinos to “better withstand unforeseen events… making the country closer to achieving the universal health care for all.”

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