CORONAVIRUS/Over 3,000 institutions providing telemedicine for quarantined: NHIA

03/07/2020 05:31 PM
Photo courtesy of the Hualien County Health Bureau
Photo courtesy of the Hualien County Health Bureau

Taipei, March 7 (CNA) More than 3,000 medical institutions in Taiwan offer telemedicine for people in isolation as part of the country's COVID-19 response measures, according to a top National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) official Saturday.

The service, provided by a total of 3,417 hospitals and clinics across Taiwan, offers remote diagnosis and treatment of patients undergoing compulsory home isolation or quarantine by means of telecommunications technology, NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) told CNA.

A total of 335 hospitals and clinics offer the service in northern Taiwan, 826 in central areas, 2,221‬ in the south and 35 in the east, according to NHIA statistics valid as of Friday.

Currently, more than 1,300 people are undergoing 14-day home isolation and close to 30,000 14-day quarantine as part of Taiwan's coronavirus disease preventions measures, according to Central Epidemic Command Center statistics.

The electronic medical service, which became available Feb. 26, was implemented by the Ministry of Health and Welfare specifically for those undergoing home isolation and quarantine so they can seek medical assistance remotely if they feel unwell.

Under current regulations people can phone their local epidemic prevention hotline to be connected to the service, which is limited to patients who need medical treatment and do not show fever or respiratory symptoms.

Patients without a valid National Health Insurance card can also use the service by paying a full fee, according to the regulations, adding that if a patient develops a fever or respiratory symptoms then an ambulance will be arranged to take that person to hospital.

The service works by downloading an APP and registering for a consultation time, when the medical physician is required to be at a proper medical institution during the consultation to ensure the privacy of the patient.

After the consultation, family members or a designated person takes the patient's national health insurance card to the designated clinic or hospital to pay and collect any medicine.

Photo courtesy of Hsinchu City Public Health Bureau
Photo courtesy of Hsinchu City Public Health Bureau

(By Chang Ming-hsuan and William Yen)

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