While waiting for the so-called “flattening the curve”in terms of the spread of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that causes the deadly COVID-19, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) continues to deploy more RxBoxes in different hospitals across the country.
The DOST in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Manila – National Telehealth Center (UP-NTHC), University of the Philippines Diliman – College of Engineering, DOST - Advanced Science and Technology Institute, and the Department of Health (DOH) developed this telemedicine device that aims to supplement the country’s community healthcare system particularly to help Rural Health Centers (RHC) in the country.
Classified as a telehealth device, the RxBox is capable of measuring a patient’s temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, uterine contractions, and electrocardiogram readings remotely. In other words, the patient need not be physically present in the hospital because the device allows diagnosis to be done in another hospital by a specialist doctor.
Thus, the use of the RxBox device can reduce contact between patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and healthcare workers, as it provides an efficient way for healthcare workers to monitor multiple patients at once.
RxBox telehealth device provides medical diagnosis particularly for patients in remote rural areas in the country with limited access to health facilities. (Photo: DOST-X/Text by Rodolfo P. de Guzman/S&T Media Service)
The RxBox devices are now deployed in selected healthcare facilities for bedside monitoring ofvital signs, oxygen saturation, and electrocardiogram readings of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, especially those in severe or critical conditions who need continuous monitoring.
Some 106 RxBox devices were initially sent to designated COVID-19 wards in the Philippine General Hospital.
As the implementing agency, DOST Region IV-A assesses and coordinates the needs of the healthcare facilities in each region for the rollout of the RxBoxes to augment the health facilities, particularly in the provinces.
On the other hand, according to DOST Region X, there are 65 RxBox Telehealth devices earmarked for distribution in selected RHU sites across Northern Mindanao (Region 10). The sites will be appropriately evaluated through the project’s Pre-deployment Assessment procedure during which the Regional Management Team validates the qualifications of the proposed health facilities. Once approved, four (4) staff from the RHUs will be invited for a Super User Training and the facility will receive one (1) RxBox Telehealth device, one (1) CPU, one (1) monitor, and one (1) router for the deployment.
The RxBox units are being manufactured in partnership with IONICS EMS Inc., a local manufacturing company based in Laguna. (Rodolfo P. de Guzman, DOST-STII)