Jakarta. Siloam International's hospitals, one of the largest private hospital operators in Indonesia, has introduced telemedicine and home care services to patients on some of its hospitals as part of the hospital chain's concerted move to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic alongside the government’s programs.
The government has advised patients other than those with Covid-19 to take distance medical consultations to avoid serious health risks during the pandemic.
The services are now available at Siloam Lippo Village in Tangerang, Kebon Jeruk, TB Simatupang, Lippo Cikarang and Mochtar Riady Comprehensive Cancer Centre (MRCCC) Siloam Hospital Semanggi.
Under the services, regular patients would interact with doctors who already know the patient's disease history. Siloam worked with the Aido Health app to arrange the consultation session schedule with patients. If needed, Siloam provides mobile medical workers to come to the patient's home to give some therapies, from physiotherapy and taking blood samples to change the bandages and deliver medicines.
The Siloam hospitals would deliver drugs for patients using Grab delivery service, or other cargo expeditions services if patients live more than 10 kilometers from the hospitals.
Caroline Riady, Siloam International Hospitals' vice president director, said telemedicine was crucial for maintaining treatment continuity or patients with chronic disease, like diabetes, asthma or cancer, to avoid unnecessary risks in the time of the pandemic.
"We tell the patients if it's not urgent, do not come to hospitals," Caroline said.
Siloam's new services were in line with the Health Ministry's earlier appeal to hospitals across Indonesia to provide online consultations for patients, to minimize the risk of catching Covid-19 disease at hospitals.
Online consultations make it easier for patients with chronic diseases to continue monitoring their health conditions, even if they are staying at home.
For chronic diseases, patients should consult their doctors periodically. "When it's time for routine checkup but patients fail to do it, the long-term effects can be devastating," Caroline said.
Clean and Safe
Telemedicine and home care service are part of Siloam's effort to make its hospital's chain "clean and safe" by keeping coronavirus patients away from others.
In cases when hospital visits are inevitable, Siloam establishes a strict protocol for all people coming to its hospital. All patients and other people accompanying them must take a rapid screening for Covid-19, Caroline said. They are also asked about their recent travel history.
"It's more work, but it must be done," Caroline said.
"Especially if we are dealing with a group of people who must come to hospital regularly for their treatment," she said. There are people with kidney failure who regularly need dialysis or cancer patients who need chemotherapy every other week.
"We are not malls, which people can afford their closing," Caroline said.
For Covid-19 patients, Siloam established isolation facilities in its 38 hospitals across the country. They have rooms with negative air pressure with separate air conditioning system entrance and exits from the main hospitals’ buildings.
Currently, the Siloam group has around 1,000 beds, including between 100 and 200 beds in the intensive care unit, reserved for Covid-19 patients.
"We hope we will never use them. But at least we have the facilities if we need them," Caroline said.
Also, the hospital operator can carry out 288 polymerase chain reaction tests per day for identifying SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease. Caroline said Siloam prioritizes the diagnostics on their medical workers, who all are equipped with proper protective gears.
"We also make sure every staff and doctor is safe. Once our staff and doctors fall ill, and they cannot serve, the entire hospital system will be overwhelmed and unable to serve both Covid-19 patients or other patients," she said.