As public stays away from hospitals, Ayala bets on telemedicine, drive-through services | Inquirer Business

As public stays away from hospitals, Ayala bets on telemedicine, drive-through services

By: - Business Features Editor / @philbizwatcher
/ 05:06 AM May 21, 2020

Vigos’ HealthNow platform offers web-based medical consultation

From “telemedicine” or web-based medi­cal consultation to drive-through diagnostic services, Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc. (AC Health) is complementing its ecosystem of hospitals, clinics, drugstores and testing laboratories with digital and other innovative platforms to fight the war against the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“AC Health is eager to work together with the public sector and other health care stakeholders to fight COVID-19. This collective effort is necessary to address the pandemic at all fronts and provide much-needed health care services to communities,” AC Health president and chief executive officer Paolo Borromeo said.


Vigos, AC Health’s techno­logy arm, teamed up with Globe Telecom’s 917 Ventures to create HealthNow, a free web-based teleconsultation platform that connects patients to doctors without leaving their homes.


Christian Besler, AC Health chief digital officer, said at a press briefing yesterday that about 80 doctors were on the platform on any given day, including those who heeded the Department of Health’s call for pro bono medical services amid the public health crisis.

“We have seen a huge demand from the public in terms of requesting an appointment and scheduling to see a doctor or specialist like GPs (general practitioners),” Besler said.

HealthNow would soon be integrated into AC Health’s other digital platforms. By end-June, it would have mobile applications that should enable doctors to conduct paid consultations, Besler said.

“A lot of doctors will shift to this model but we will still keep some part of the service available for free to the public,” he said.

By the second and third week of July, Besler said the platform would be integrated with AC Health’s Generika drugstores, thus enabling medicine delivery capabilities. Toward the third or fourth quarter, it would be integrated into the corporate health care facilities of FamilyDoc, the group’s one-stop shop for clinic/primary health care, diagnostics and pharmaceutical services.

Thus, the group would be able to ultimately cover “public health-seeking behavior all the way to employer-sponsored health care,” Besler added.


Raymund Paul Darroca, general manager of FamilyDoc, said apart from home services, laboratory and home vaccination offerings, the group would soon introduce drive-through labs.

“This means for elderly patients, senior patients with hypertension and diabetes, you don’t have to go down from your car, we will actually extract blood and specimen right at your car and that will reduce the [risk] exposure,” Darroca said.

By end-June, more than 40 clinics of FamilyDoc would have medicine delivery capability in partnership with GrabMart.

Meanwhile, AC Health’s o­ther online platforms, such as AIDE (home health care services) and MedGrocer (medicine delivery), also serve patients who need digi­tal and remote access to care.

AC Health has kept 62 FamilyDoc primary care and seven Healthway multispecialty clinics open to serve as triage points for suspected COVID-19 cases and also for non-COVID-19 patients. The clinic network has so far referred around 9,700 probable and 8,900 suspect cases.

FamilyDoc and Healthway clinics will also offer corporate testing services by June 1.

AC Health has implemented a testing program utilizing both antibody rapid testing and confirmatory RT-PCR testing across the Ayala group. Around 54,000 employees will be tested for the program, among which 9,000 will be tested this week.

To address the difficulty that both cancer patients and oncologists are facing these days, AC Health has repurposed Healthway Greenbelt 5 into a chemotherapy infusion unit.

AC Health has partnered with Qualimed to convert Qualimed Sta. Rosa into a COVID-19 referral hospital. The triage holding area, which was launched on May 18, can accommodate up to 12 mild cases of COVID-19. The hospital has also created additional 31 inpatient and eight intensive care unit (ICU) beds exclusive for COVID-19.

The newly-built COVID19 triage holding area outside the Main building of Qualimed Sta. Rosa

Together with other partners, AC Health will build five labs for confirmatory RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) testing for an additional 3,000 tests in daily capacity at the Tropical Disease Foundation in Makati and Qualimed Hospitals in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Tanauan, Batangas, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, and Iloilo City, Iloilo.

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It was earlier estimated that AC Health had so far invested P300 million on various initiatives to help contain COVID-19.

AC Health president Paolo Borromeo

TAGS: AC Health, Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc. (AC Health), FamilyDoc, Generika, new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Paolo Borromeo, telemedicine

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