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Smart redefines mobility in health sector

First Posted 07:44:00 01/04/2011

SMART telecommunication company?s health care initiatives in 2010 have bridged distances for amputees, enabled those in far-flung communities to consult specialists in the city, and allowed rural health workers to access and make patient data available to health authorities without leaving their desks.

With the help of Physicians for Peace (PfP)-Philippines, Smart, through its Kabalikat sa Kalusugan program, has deployed Amputee Screening via CEllphone NeTworking (ASCENT), a mobile and web application that allows PfP to provide real-time evaluation and advice on prosthesis use for amputees in remote communities.

Trained health workers used ASCENT to interview and record data from amputees during medical missions conducted in Tondo, Pampanga and Romblon in 2010.

The data, which includes photos of the amputee, were sent via Smart mobile Internet to a web site that can be accessed by volunteer doctors from PfP-Philippines. The process enables remote screening, minimizing the need for those with mobility problems to visit health centers before they can be fitted with prosthetics.

The doctors can immediately give feedback to the health worker?s cell phone, sending instructions on the proper methods for wound care and rehabilitation to facilitate prosthesis fitting and functional recovery.

Smart is also supporting the Mobile Surgery Services Project of the Mindanao Consortium of Surgeons and the provincial government of Misamis Oriental. The project has provided provincial hospitals in the towns of Gingoog, Talisayan, Balingasag, and Manticao with one-year, free Internet access that the resident doctors use to consult specialists online, via a webcam and a free Windows-based video chat and video conferencing application called ooVoo.

Patients from these towns no longer have to travel to consult specialists based in Cagayan de Oro City.

Doctors participating in the project also get a more accurate profile of their patients, allowing them to better prepare for medical missions to these areas.

In four rural health centers in Tarlac, patient-handling is now paperless. Personal and medical data is directly keyed into the clinic database using netbooks and PCs thanks to Wireless Access for Health (WAH), which was launched last June.

Project partners include US wireless technology leader Qualcomm ? which provided funding and management with the assistance of RTI International and the US Agency for International Development, the National Telehealth Center of the University of the Philippines, Tarlac State University, Department of Health and the Tarlac provincial government

Smart is also helping the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) enhance its collection via the remittance-by-air service, which allows Philhealth members to pay their monthly contributions through text.

Smart also supported Philhealth Sabado, a one-day nationwide effort for membership recruitment by providing wireless broadband connectivity to 200 mobile points of enrollment nationwide.

Smart has just signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Health, through the Center of Health Development Western Visayas, to collaborate on the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for health care services in region 6.

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