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Developing Digital Health in the Philippines

10 Aug 2022 | Philippines

The COVID-19 pandemic propelled the growth of the demand for products and services in the market for digital health in the Philippines. Mobile health devices, telemedicine, and healthcare technology in the Philippines. Driven by the pandemic, both the public and private sectors are investing more in the advancement of medical technology in the country.

As healthcare providers adapt to the changing demands of customers, the profitability of the digital health market in the Philippines also increases. Globally, the market is projected to reach a revenue of 579.20 million USD this year, logging a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.19%. In the Philippines, as the government expands its healthcare services through the Universal Healthcare Act of 2019, health coverage is also expected to increase by 100% this year.

What can public and private healthcare providers contribute to the advancement of medical technology in the country? We look at the possibilities for health innovations and how evolving consumer preferences can present opportunities for the growth of digital health in the Philippines.

Telemedicine During COVID-19 in the Philippines

Telemedicine

Prior to the pandemic, telemedicine was not as accessible in the Philippines. Health digitization and digital infrastructure were rated poorly in the country. Patients were typically diagnosed and monitored through face-to-face consultations. As quarantine restrictions made it difficult for patients to get medical advice from healthcare professionals, telemedicine became a way to fill the gap in healthcare services in the Philippines.

At the height of COVID-19, many healthcare providers quickly adapted to telemedicine to facilitate bookings and consultations in the Philippines. The development of online platforms enabled patients to get matched with or book appointments with doctors or get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for mild symptoms of COVID-19.

The country’s Department of Health emphasized that harnessing the emergence of these health innovations in the Philippines is crucial to expanding access to healthcare services in the country.

Post-pandemic, it can continue putting less pressure on the hospital system, allowing more medical professionals to focus on patients without access to telemedicine in the Philippines.

Expanding Digital Health Services

To enable both medical professionals and patients to get wider access to healthcare technology in the Philippines, digdigital infrastructure must be strengthened. While the private sector has an obvious advantage in developing digital and health innovations, local governments can help augment the demand by developing systems that will enable their jurisdictions, especially those in far-flung areas, to have access to telemedicine.

Inclusivity is also an important issue that needs to be addressed. IT-powered public health services need to become a priority for the national government to strengthen fundamental health interventions.

Patients who don't use telemedicine in the Philippines far outnumber those who do. If the country wants to facilitate the digitalization of the public health system, it must also include those who don’t have access to digital solutions.

With the enormous potential found in digital health in the Philippines, it also presents opportunities in other sectors such as telecommunications. Public-private partnerships can enable more patients seeking healthcare to access telemedicine. Digital solutions in healthcare facilities will also help hospitals implement better patient monitoring and tracking systems.

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