Argentina’s health system, as we know it, is over. The change in rules from one day to the next on the legality of digital prescriptions in the purchase of medicines is just one example of technological backwardness that worsens – and also – a completely collapsed and obsolete model. In this context, telehealth appears as the most beneficial solution for both patients and professionals and companies.
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the structural problems of Argentina’s health system and opened the way for new problems, such as months-long delays in appointments, fear of getting infected in pharmacies or waiting rooms, lack of medical resources, and exploitation and abuse of health professionals. exhaustion of As a result, the government enacted Law 27,533 in August 2020, which regulates the prescription and dispensing of medicines through electronic or digital prescriptions and allows the use of telecare platforms.
However, the rule was implemented halfway and poorly. Competent bodies never took necessary measures for its correct implementation and today many doctors do not have official software, equipped with digital security and traceability mechanisms to indicate digital prescriptions, or worse, few even professionals Don’t know how they should authenticate the digital signature of these recipes.
For these reasons, the decision made by the Ministry of Health to cancel the possibility of receiving medicine via the photo of the prescription or via WhatsApp caused a real stir: although the use of digital prescriptions is still in force, this change allows patients to creates serious inconveniences for the public and a lot of confusion among health professionals. Given that the summer season is about to begin and many professionals will not appear again until February, it is unnecessary to point out an inappropriate date of measurement.
a collapsed system
What happened to digital prescriptions is another example of half-hearted reforms. The authorization to see a doctor during the quarantine was actually insufficient to address the drop in demand and prevent patients from coming to offices: not all prepaid companies were able to adapt quickly enough to the changes and set up an appointment with a professional. Access problems persist to this day.
According to a study by the Adecra+Cedim association, during the first half of this year, the demand for appointments for medical consultations and studies increased by an average of 42% for all specialties compared to the same period last year, leading to a systems, both public and private. It is estimated that there is a delay of four to six weeks or more in making an appointment with a health care professional, although in some specialties it takes months.
Even in the midst of this situation, the growth is not taking the name of stopping. In addition to the 6.9% increase already scheduled in January, the new monthly rate of increase in prepaid fees, which will be 4.91% or 8.21% depending on the net income of the headlines, will start coming into effect from February 1.
solution within reach
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), telemedicine is “the practice of medical care with the aid of the interpersonal communication of sound, images and data, and includes the provision of medical assistance, consultation, diagnosis and treatment, as well as teaching and the transfer of medical data”. “. This is not just a technical support, but a “telemedical care process”.
The pandemic allowed us to open the first door towards the implementation of technology in the health system and the development of telehealth, but we should not live with the insufficient measures that were taken.
It is time for the general public, authorities and prepaid companies to understand that medicine, like other industries, has a unique opportunity to adapt to changes and progress, once and for all, along with telehealth.
It is not about inventing gunpowder, but about building on cases that have already been successful in other countries to develop similar technologies and modernize our healthcare system. There are already platforms in Argentina that provide 100% online technical solutions and medical care and have reported positive experiences.
Unlike existing virtual health care service, these platforms allow care across multiple specialties through video consultations, rapid diagnosis, digital prescription issuance, study and treatment requests, and the possibility of digitizing medical records.
These health initiatives, along with fully online care across a variety of specialties, offer the possibility that appointments with health professionals for on-call service are immediate, and wait times for an appointment are less than a week. In addition, you can receive personalized diagnoses and write digital prescriptions instantly without the hassle of submitting them to pharmacies.
Another major advantage of telehealth is that patients do not have to travel to the doctor’s office and thus avoid exposure to infection, in addition to reducing cost, distance and travel time.
In the context of declining purchasing power and loss of formal employment, the number of users who can afford the “luxury” of living in the private health system declines. Hence, it is no small matter that online medical care services have some of the cheapest health plans in the market.
Users are not the only ones who benefit from a health system with these features, as, in the midst of a delicate situation for the economy, health care professionals also gain greatly from not collecting their deferred fees (something common in the profession).
Similarly, their productivity increases, their health is preserved and demand is decentralised, while avoiding saturation of services, resources and personnel.