Ike Señeres .
I USED to say that for as long as there is a signal, I could deliver all online services to any point in the Philippines, regardless of height or distance. That would mean delivering online services even to the highest mountain or the farthest island, again for as long as there is a signal. Nowadays however, I do not say that anymore because one way or the other, I could find the means to deliver a signal to anywhere meaning everywhere within the territory of the Philippines. Going back to my basic premise; it would also mean that we could deliver any and all online services to anywhere, for as long as there is something to deliver, meaning that for as long as there is a service provider at the backend.
Pardon me if it might sound as if I am bragging, but please understand where I am coming from, the fact that I am coming from an era of dial-up modems, when the fastest means of connectivity was copper phone lines. Perhaps it was just a play of words, but we accepted the legal fiction at that time that Digital Service Line (DSL) was a high speed broadband connection, but it was only later on when we understood that despite the hype, DSL was still running on copper and it was only considered as high speed because it was the highest possible speed at that time, but it was really nothing compared to the real high speed fiber optic connectivity that we have today.
As the saying goes: if there is a will, there is a way, and that saying applies as well to installing connectivity! In other words, if there is a desire, there is always a way to install a connection, one way or the other. In some cases, the cost of connectivity might become an issue, but in response to that, the costs should be evaluated in relation to how much value it would create. For example, how much value could you assign to a means of connectivity that could not only save human lives, but also improve human lives, among others that it would be capable of doing? From my perspective, I would even say that no matter how much the cost of connectivity is, the value that it would create would always be higher or greater.
I would not be surprised if DSL is still available in many parts of our country, still good for connecting to the internet. In practically all of these locations, Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications is still available, ready to connect your mobile phones to the internet. And in many locations in our country, Long Term Evolution (LTE) is already available, providing better and faster connectivity. Aside from these three, fiber optic connections are now available from third party providers or from cable television operators. And if that is not enough, there is always the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) option that provides satellite connectivity. On top of all these, there is always a microwave option that could connect distant locations via line of sight.
In theory, any form of two-way communications between two people for medical purposes could already be considered as telemedicine, even if the person at the other end is not necessarily a doctor or a medical professional. In a recent visit to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City, I was excited to find out that they already have a Department of Telemedicine, and they are already making great progress in the fields of tele-radiology and tele-psychiatry. What is good about this development is that the SPMC is more than willing to reach out to all the other hospitals in Mindanao, thus forming a massive network of hubs and spokes, SPMC being one of the hubs.
In recent memory, we could recall that it was a huge challenge how to transmit large files such as X-Ray files from one point to another. That problem was partially solved when Dropbox and Google Drive came along. The better solution came when cloud hosting became cheaper, and that is the solution that SPMC is using now. Instead of transmitting large files from one point to another, these files are now uploaded to the cloud, and from there, these could already be read from the internet, using a browser or viewer. One good thing about this technology is that most hospitals are using the same Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (Dicom) standard. Note that Dicom is not a brand, it is a standard, perhaps a shining example of how technology could be used to benefit all of mankind, and not just their greedy proprietary brand owners.