Doctor network offers online diagnoses amid Covid restrictions

By Thu Anh   July 27, 2021 | 06:00 pm GMT+7
Doctor network offers online diagnoses amid Covid restrictions
Doctor Bui Thanh Phuc (R) from the Viet Duc University Hospital in a phone call with a Covid-19 patient in HCMC, July 26, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Manh Cuong.
Thousands of doctors are now offering Covid-19 diagnoses and support online for coronavirus cases and their closest contacts at home.

Vietnam Young Physicians Association plans to mobilize around 2,500 medical workers from all over the country by Wednesday to join a network supporting Covid-19 patients and their close contacts who are either self-isolated or unable to visit medical facilities.

The network would provide Covid-19 screening, risk assessment and counseling for coronavirus cases and close contacts so doctors could give out appropriate advice and recommendations to each individual, said Le Tuan Thanh, who manages the network.

Coronavirus cases and their close contacts who have yet to attend medical facilities for proper diagnoses are among the most vulnerable as they are not aware of their exact conditions or when they should be wheeled to a hospital for treatment. As their health deteriorates and they grow unable to make contact with medical authorities, anxiety and even paranoia could set in, said Thanh.

By offering help to said cases, the burden on the healthcare system could be relieved, he added.

By Monday afternoon, the network had garnered around 1,450 volunteers for the project. They include doctors, nurses, pharmacists and psychiatrists working in localities that have yet to be severely impacted by Covid-19.

How it works

Local Centers for Disease Control (CDCs) and Covid-19 hotlines would feed all information about coronavirus cases and their close contacts to a common database, which would then be shared among network doctors while maintaining patient anonymity.

Doctors would then assess each case via a phone call. Based on the information, doctors would classify each individual on a scale from zero to four. Zero and one would comprise symptomatic and mild cases, while four would indicate those at highest risks of severe symptoms or even death.

The mildest cases could be monitored through the phone, while the most severe would warrant emergency alerts to local medical centers so patients could be taken to hospital.

The first batch of volunteers, including several doctors from Viet Duc University Hospital, initiated a network trial Monday following a week of preparation. Initial surveys revealed close contacts of Covid-19 cases had a high demand for support calls.

The network is expected to officially launch Wednesday night.

Last week, Ho Chi Minh City’s information and health departments had also created a hotline to support citizens in Covid-19 prevention. People could call these hotlines to receive advice and recommendations from health experts regarding the coronavirus.

It goes beyond just Covid-19. Seeing the demands of several people for remote medical diagnoses and advice, Do Trieu Hung, general secretary of the Medical Practitioner Society of HCMC, earlier this month called on several of his colleagues from numerous hospitals to create a free health counseling network. After nearly two weeks since launching the campaign, over 250 doctors have joined the cause, providing online diagnoses in multiple medical fields.

That campaign is expected to last for a month until Aug. 15, said Hung.

Official statistics from the HCMC Department of Health revealed asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 cases account for around 80 percent of all infections. The southern metropolis has recorded 68,271 local cases in the fourth coronavirus wave since late April, the worst-hit locality in the entire country.

Vietnam's coronavirus tally in the new wave now totals 105,287.

 
 
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