Jun 8, 2012
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Midwives in the Philippines now have access to a set of mobile health applications, thanks to a newly-expanded project by Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach™ initiative, the Philippines Department of Health and the Tarlac Provincial Health Office.
The Wireless Access for Health (WAH) project, launched in 2009, uses 3G technology to improve health care in the Philippines. Its first initiative was a way for health workers to streamline medical record keeping and reporting.
This sounds simple, but it can have a huge impact on patient care. Previously records in Tarlac were written by hand and prone to error. Now they’re entered into an electronic medical record system linked by 3G technology. That gives health care providers fast and accurate access to records, which aids them in providing more efficient services to the community.
Now the project includes the province-wide testing of Mobile Midwife health applications. These applications instantaneously send alerts related to important health milestones such as prenatal care and child immunization reminders. To date, 26 midwives are participating in the Mobile Midwife program and 1,100 alerts have been sent to more than 250 patients.
I spoke at the launch event in Makati City, Philippines. Attendees included the World Health Organization representative to the Philippines, Dr. Soe Nyunt-Uand, and multiple mayors from the Tarlac province.
Since July 2009, the WAH project has successfully expanded from four rural health units to 21 health clinics in the Tarlac Province. These health facilities serve more than 1,500 patients a day. As of April 2012, more than 109,000 patient consultations have been captured by the system. In addition, patient care has improved and the number of patient visits has increased as a result of efficiencies that have reduced the time spent searching for paper records.
I have been fortunate to be a part of this effort that, due to the success of the pilot project, has now received the support of the Tarlac provincial government to replicate the system in all 38 provincial health clinics. Tarlac will be the first province in the Philippines to have all of its health clinics interconnected by and running on a health information system. My colleagues at Qualcomm and I are grateful to all of the partnering organizations that made WAH possible – benefiting hundreds of thousands and creating healthier communities.