Leading life insurer Pru Life UK has launched the latest edition of its PRUWise Webinar series called Health Scape PH, which was a timely and insightful dialogue among key stakeholders from the country’s healthcare sector to discuss mHealth in the country. The webinar was attended by about 1000 participants.
The webinar titled Health Scape PH: Harnessing the Power AI and Mobile Health in Transforming PH Health, discussed topics on mobile digital health (mHealth), challenges post-COVID-19, and the behavioral shift towards digital healthcare. It also highlighted the role of the public and private sector in advancing mHealth in the country. The webinar panelists included representatives from Pru Life UK and its regional headquarters Prudential Corporation Asia, as well as industry partners from a global healthcare organization Babylon, the Department of Health, and leading telecommunications provider PLDT group,
“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,” said Antonio “Jumbing” De Rosas, president and CEO, Pru Life UK.
At the webinar, Prudential Corporation Asia chief health officer Andrew Wong discussed Prudential’s ambition for digital health and how the company is playing a more extensive preventive role alongside protection to address the growing health burden in Asia. Meanwhile, Babylon’s chief medical officer Dr. Mobasher Butt explained what makes their technology the world’s first integrated medical AI platform and how healthcare systems can be transformed through a digital-first healthcare delivery model. He also shared how AI can help address issues in the accessibility and affordability of healthcare services in the Philippines.
Other key stakeholders from the government and private sector discussed the need to advance digital health in the Philippines, highlighting how public and private institutions can work collectively towards this goal. 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 DOH’s efforts in promoting mHealth as a powerful tool to help disseminate relevant health information and guidelines to the public, especially as part of COVID-19 response efforts.
“We have always embraced technology because we believe that it will always support what we have for improving access to services. In fact, we had one mobile app application that’s for smokers so they can quit and they actually get teleconsultations when they use the apps. We’re developing it now so that we can scale it up. That was in collaboration with the World Health Organization,” Tayag told Gadgets Magazine in an exclusive interview after the webinar.
“We also had partnerships with different third party developers for telemedicine consultations, but, but we also caution, everyone who approached us for their proposals in introducing these apps. Because, one, there may be privacy and data protection issues. We want to make sure that people are protected when they share valuable information when they install it in these apps. Secondly, that they actually get the services they expect or desire and so you Government is actually going to scale up its processes on telemedicine because of the new normal and we expect to work with the private sector including Pru life UK, so that we can provide the best health services we cannot now ignore the contribution of the private sector,” he adds.
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. He shared his views on the readiness of Filipinos in using mHealth tools now that the National ID System is almost in place. He also expressed his thoughts on how the telecommunications industry can work closely with the health and life insurance sectors to leverage mHealth to reach more Filipinos nationwide and strengthen the Philippine mobile healthcare system.
“As we conclude this pioneering and informative discussion on mobile health with leaders from both the government and private sectors, we are excited with the ongoing developments in the Philippine healthcare system and reiterate our commitment to ensuring Filipinos’ health and wellbeing through our protect, prevent, and postpone proposition,” said Allen Tumbaga, senior vice president and chief customer marketing officer, Pru Life UK.
Pru Life UK has a key figure for mHealth in the country. Last November 2019, the company commissioned advisory firm Quisumbing Torres to launch a whitepaper titled “Mobile Health in the Philippines,’ which examines the readiness of the country’s regulatory environment for mHealth. A few months later Pru Life UK introduced Pulse, its holistic health management app which allows users to proactively manage their health and lifestyle through AI-enabled tools, relevant health information, and other value-added resources. As of writing, the app now has more than 1.3 million downloads, a number Tumbaga was happily surprised about.
“When we were trying to estimate before how many we use it, we were using, oh, we will be very happy if a million will be using it. I believe my forecast was a bit less. But then we were pleasantly surprised when people took on to the app and until now they keep on downloading the app. I would say possibly that the current situation heightened their interest for to be able to get something on their hand where they can consult with not necessarily to do something like the usual Google searching, but really something more intelligent, that can aid them with a question about their health and so on and so forth,” Tumaga told Gadgets Magazine in an exclusive interview after the webinar.
According to the whitepaper, there are seven recommendations on how to implement mHealth in the country. Pru Life UK president Antonio De Roxas in his opening remarks notes that three of the seven recommendations have started making progress, with Dr. Eric Tayag noting it’s not a matter of if the country but only a matter of when.
“The country has the potential to actually fulfill all the steps. But the question is not if we can, but when. So we have to have the infrastructure, we have to change the culture, we have to manage the change that is going to happen,” Tayag said.