Information and communications technology is transforming healthcare through collaboration technologies, e-health records and through manifestations of the Internet-of-Things (IoT).
On 16th January, the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) revealed five local technological innovations on health it is supporting. In addition to cost-effective technologies and methods for knee replacement, dengue diagnosis confirmation and dengue transmission control, the list included two products which leverage ICT for strengthening healthcare delivery.
One of them is a device called RxBox, which captures medical signals through built-in sensors. It stores the collected data in an electronic medical record (EMR), and transmits the health information via internet. Thereby, it faciliates teleconsultations within the National Telehealth Service Program.
RxBox is being gradually rolled out across the country, with demonstrations held in different parts throughout 2016.
Its components include a blood pressure monitor, a pulse oximeter (for measuring level of oxygen in blood indicating lung and cardiovascular problems), an eletrocardiogram, a fetal heart monitor, a maternal tocometer and a temperature sensor.
The device, jointly developed by the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman and Manila, reduces the need for travel and hospitalizations, as it enables remote diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of patients living in geographically isolated regions and disadvantaged communities across the country. Philippines is an archipelago of over 7500 islands. Such innovations can help in countering the geographical challenge of extending medical care to all parts of the country.
The press release also talked about an Android application, called the eHealth TABLET for Informed Decision Making of LGUs (eHATID LGU). Developed by Ateneo De Manila University, it provides real time health information through reports and visualisations and enables direct communication between local chief executives and rural health units (RHUs). It utilises a cloud based system for centralised management of data.
With connectivity continuing to be a challenge, the application can work even without an internet connection. Supported by eHATID, local government units (LGUs) can create sound and evidence-based health policies and programs.