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SEPT. 8, 2020

Minister Paris visits family health center that is developing a telemedicine model

<meta charset="utf-8"/>The Áncora UC Juan Pablo II family health center in the Santiago district of La Pintana is using telemedicine to follow-up and trace COVID cases. The model, based on telemedicine, allows the provision of remote medical care and reporting for people with COVID and other patients.

The role of the primary healthcare network during the Coronavirus pandemic has expanded to include assessing and confirming suspected COVID cases and their contacts, providing clinical treatment and follow-up, tracing contagion, and providing supervision and support for people in isolation.

This frontline function has been fundamental and is being boosted by advances in telemedicine. “This means attending patients by telemedicine so that instead of coming in for consultations, they receive attention via a computer, as we saw recently with a patient who was being monitored because he had coronavirus; it allows us to carry out tracing, which is so vital. This is a very important step forward,” said Health Minister Enrique Paris.

La Pintana Mayor Claudia Pizarro noted that Universidad Católica (UC) has been developing the Áncora model for attending to patients in the district for 14 years. “It has been a great help for our community – and it will continue to be important because the pandemic has not finished in Chile and we could relapse; we don't want that to happen. It’s our duty as Chileans to look after ourselves. We don't want more Chileans to die. The Paso a Paso (step-by-step) plan is good, but we need more inspection and checking,” the Mayor stressed.

UC's Áncora model in Primary Health Care Centers

The Áncora UC family health centers (Centro de Salud Familiar, CESFAM) are implementing a new model for attending to patients, based on telemedicine, which allows them to provide remote medical care and reporting for people with COVID and other patients. The goal is to reorganize and expand the current activity of these centers and deliver a safe, timely response to people that meets their demands and needs, and takes account of the context both during and after the COVID pandemic.

This model increases the proportion of remote attention to users, through telemedicine and remote care services provided by different specialities and disciplines, thus reducing the numbers of people visiting health centers. It can be used for managing appointments, giving guidance and information, following up on COVID patients and contacts, and providing care support services (sick notes, prescriptions, requests for tests and procedures).

The Dean of the UC Medical Faculty, Felipe Heusser, noted that “using digital channels we can reach more people, and we are starting a new phase in this development, thanks to the support of the Metlife Foundation, which will allow us to get closer to patients and prevent them arriving at polyclinics in large numbers.”

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has three primary healthcare centers, called ÁNCORA UC, in south-east Santiago: two in Puente Alto and one in La Pintana.

The director of the Áncora UC family health centers, Dr. Álvaro Téllez, the director of the Áncora UC Juan Pablo II CESFAM, Psychologist Victoria Cuadra, and Provida CEO Gregorio Ruiz Esquide, representing the MetLife Foundation, were present during the visit.