The best time for innovative healthcare is now

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    The COVID-19 pandemic is a revelation of the status of global healthcare, with even first world countries questioning their capabilities to address such a large-scale demand for services and technology to cater to their people better and faster.

    For developing countries like the Philippines, the challenges range from poverty, lack of access to basic healthcare, poor usage and allocation of resources in the health sector, and inequity.

    On top of the coronavirus outbreak that has affected over 240,000 people in the country, there are other health issues experienced by Filipinos every day

    These are strong reasons to rally national budget, government cooperation, and health industry collaboration to prioritize innovative healthcare that can help address many life-threatening diseases.

    Former DOH Undersecretary of Health Madeleine De Rosas-Valera, MD, MScIH, one of the speakers in the recently concluded Health for Juan and Juana webinar forum, touched on national healthcare as an investment worth financing now. The talk highlighted the improvement of the standard of care towards patients with cancer and other life-threatening health conditions.

    When healthcare spending becomes prioritized within the proper interests, there will be a significant behavior change for patients and society at large, thanks to better, more cost-effective service delivery. To drive this, there is an intensive need for a Health Technology Assessment (HTA).

    The WHO HTA is an evaluation process of how the advancement of tools and procedures of health interventions/technologies affect socio-economic, organizational, and ethical issues. This evaluation can help aid decision-making in the realm of healthcare policies.

    As health technologies such immunotherapy for cancer cased have been seen to add years to life and life to years of patients, making this treatment option accessible to every Juan and Juana would be a big leap in local healthcare. To aid healthcare leaders in assessing the health outcomes derived from immunotherapy as a treatment option — as stated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act — a study called the Health Impact Projection Model or HIP Model was proposed to demonstrate the impact of funding immunotherapy in the National Integrated Cancer Care Act (NICCA).

    If these innovative technologies go through an HTA process here in the Philippines, they will be available in government hospitals and indigents would be able to avail of them,” said Dr. Valera on the plausible integration of the HIP’s economic and survival modeling.