Mobile health tech predicted to continue even after vaccine is discovered

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    THE Philippines, now being an epicenter of the spread of the SARS-CoV-19 virus, needs to conscientiously and rapidly advance mobile health (mHealth) technologies. Applying digital health processes is one way to disrupt the spread of the virus and eventually “flatten the curve,” at the same time ensure that health and medical services are always available to the public.

    Moreover, experts agreed that the digitalization of health services, primarily moved by health apps and telemedicine will rapidly continue even after a cure has been found for the COVID-19 virus.

    Through a webinar entitled “Healthscape PH: Harnessing the Power of AI and Mobile Health in Transforming PH Healthcare,” experts and key stakeholders in the telemedicine field in both government and the private sector discussed the need to advance digital health in the country, highlighting how public and private institutions can work collectively towards this goal.

    Organized by health insurer, Pru Like UK, the webinar is the first in a series. Topics discussed touched on mobile digital health challenges post-COVID-19. One interesting conclusion drawn from the discussion is that the public will continue to use telemedicine and e-services even if a vaccine is discovered.

    “We are pleased to hold the first Healthscape PH webinar along with our partners to discuss digital health as part of our ongoing advocacy of supporting Filipinos’ wellbeing through innovation. We believe there is a strong opportunity to leverage mobile health technologies to help promote more accessible and affordable healthcare in the Philippines,” Pru Life UK President and Chief Executive Officer Antonio “Jumbing” De Rosas said introducing the activity to the publics attending the by-invite-only webinar.

    DOH Director IV for Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service Dr. Enrique Tayag, offered an overview of the future of the country’s health system, including a glimpse into its own mHealth app, designed to be a powerful tool to help disseminate relevant health information and guidelines to the public, especially as part of COVID-19 response efforts.

    Healthscape PH managed to ease the fears of the thousand or so participants, as speaker after speaker clarified important issues, not only related to the COVID-19 pandemic but also to the accessibility and practicality of mHealth in its future.

    Pru Life’s mHealth platform, “Pulse” has been around since November last year. It came about after the company commissioned advisory firm Quisimbing Torres to study the landscape and the need for such an mHealth app. Pulse allows users to proactively manage their health and lifestyle through AI-enabled tools, relevant health information and other value-added resources.

    The back end of the app was created by the health technology company Babylon which also pioneered in developing the world’s first integrated medical AI platform.

    Dr. Mobasher Butt, Babylon’s Chief Medical Officer was also part of the webinar. He shared global examples of how healthcare systems can be transformed through a digital first healthcare delivery model. He also shared his views on how AI can help address issues in the accessibility and affordability of healthcare services in the Philippines.

    “Artificial intelligence becomes the equalizer,” he said referring to how data, managed and processed well can impact on diagnosis and even treatment.

    Prudential Corporation Asia Chief Health Officer Andrew Wong expounded on Prudential’s ambition for digital health and shared how the company is playing a more extensive preventive role alongside protection to address the growing health burden in Asia.

    First Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer Angel Redoble of PLDT Group, ePLDT and Smart discussed how the telecommunications industry can supplement digital health efforts with technology infrastructure and safeguarding user data. 

    Pru Life UK Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Marketing Officer Allan Tumbaga concluded and closed the session calling for the promotion of the “health and wellness of Filipinos through advanced, innovative solutions.”

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