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How 3G wireless connectivity is saving lives in underserved communities

I recently came across a blog post and photos on the Wireless Access for Health project (WAH) by the Center for Health Market Innovations. I have always been fascinated by the benefits that wireless connectivity can bring to underserved communities, particular in the area of e-health, and this project is really something extraordinary.

Last year in Tarlac, the Philippines, 3G wireless technology was utilized to enable a locally developed electronic health record system to substantially reduce the time required for reporting, while also improving access to accurate and relevant patient information for doctors.

WAH is now leveraging new and innovative healthcare technologies to improve the quality and timeliness of data at five rural health units (RHUs) in the Philippines keeping locals healthier and, hopefully, even saving lives.

By providing connectivity to the RHUs, patient information can now be fed electronically into the Philippine Field Health Service Information System—the government’s major resource for managing public health data—to collate reports for policy planning and analysis that had traditionally taken a year to compile!

Meanwhile, the recording of clinic-level information is enabling the RHUs to manage drug supplies and identify human resource needs, while municipal-, district-, regional- and provincial-level information is helping to identify disease outbreaks and inform decision makers on the most efficient allocation of resources.

The system also allows for data that had previously been recorded on paper to be electronically recorded, making the process much more efficient and less error-prone. And training has been provided to each of the rural clinics, while end-users of the system have been sharing their technical support feedback on a designated Facebook page.

As of today, more than 100,000 patient consultations have been recorded in the WAH system but I believe we have only just hit the top of the iceberg.

What we have achieved so far will serve as a model for other RHUs across the country and will encourage the expansion of this innovative network to benefit hundreds of thousands of more Filipinos into the future.

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