‘Medical 911’ to reduce health care cost

Published by rudy Date posted on March 13, 2009

Filed Under: Healthcare Providers, Health, Health organisations
HEALTH care cost maybe one of the least priorities for most people who are facing an economy marred by news of ongoing layoffs and retrenchments, slimming profit margins and decreasing export volumes.

But reducing health care cost is possible by knowing when to go to the physician to have their condition diagnosed, said Dr. Enrique Magpily, president and chief executive officer of First Aide Contact Center Inc.

This can be done by getting medical advice through a medical contact center.

“A medical contact center serves as your assistant and provide you information on your condition, medicines, the costs of medicines anytime and anywhere,” he told .

First Aide is the medical contact center arm of The Northern Group Works, which also owns Northern Transcription Works (medical transcription), Next IX (software development) and Northern Telco (call center).

Magpily said research done abroad shows that many minor symptoms can be managed at home. Medical anxiety, however, brings most people directly to the emergency room.

“When a caller called in sick, we assess the condition. If I tell you your condition is not an emergency (situation) and it can be managed by OTC (over-the-counter) medicines, it will save you time and cost,” he said.

He said many people undergo laboratory tests and visits to the doctor which are oftentimes unnecessary.

First Aide started in early 2007 to service employees of six private companies. It operates from Monday to Saturday. The company has four in-house nurses, a doctor and several consultants.

“The system is like your local version of 911 in the United States but it provides medical services. Employees dial hotline number 255-9911,” he said.

The contact center’s staff, mostly composed of nurses, gets thorough information on the caller’s condition and advised him on what to do given the situation or what medicines to buy to relieve pain.

The system also has a database on the prices of medicines.

Magpily said First Aide still offers services free of charge as they are setting up the system. Within this year, he said, they will go public with contact center’s services.

Plans are in the pipeline to reach the international market especially overseas Filipino workers. They also plan to partner with the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation and a telecommunications company. /Reporter Cris Evert B. Lato, Cebu Daily News

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