Tablets vs. Paper: How the Philippines Halved the Cost of Healthcare Delivery

ACCESS Health International-Philippines is a nonprofit think tank that has trained the Philippines government’s community health teams to collect medical information through tablets. The results have been eye-opening. Medha Basu reports on the improvement for FutureGov.

Paper No More

Mobile and web apps have replaced the pen and paper format that was first used in 2011, and these apps have nearly cut expenses by half. Among other reasons why, community health workers are now able to profile families, develop individual health plans, and share healthcare updates. Checkups are scheduled, and workers return once a month. These workers used to have to carry a mountain of paperwork to each house, but no such concerns exist now with the tablets:

Now, they just need to carry a tablet with them on which they can update the household’s profile, deliver video messages and track family members’ progress with health plans. Not all survey areas have an internet connection, so every community health centre has been equipped with a connection. Once the workers return to the centre, they sync the data on the tablet to a server that automatically generates the required reports. “The City Health Office can [directly] access the reports through the web application,” she added.

Although only 100 out of roughly 100,000 health workers are currently trained to use the app, it goes to show how much further things still stand to improve. The future looks bright if the initiative maintains its momentum, but it could be challenging with the Philippines’ budgets for such projects being dependent upon local budgets. It all originally began out of Caloocan City, so let us hope that the enthusiasm that started there will spread across the region. You can read the full article here: http://www.futuregov.asia/articles/2014/jul/30/tablets-vs-paper-how-philippines-halved-cost-healt/

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