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GE, Ayala Corp collaborate for affordable, quality healthcare solutions

By Jonnah Pante - on 9 Nov 2016, 2:00pm

GE, Ayala Corp collaborate for affordable, quality healthcare solutions

Closer collaboration across all sectors should be implemented to fulfill the current administration's agenda in providing Filipinos with wider healthcare.

This is according to healthcare industry leaders and other experts who have identified opportunities and challenges facing the administration's health agenda, which Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Udial unveiled at the National Health Summit last September.

Among the government priorities laid out by the health chief include the full implementation of the reproductive health law, insurance coverage for all Filipinos and healthcare at lower costs.

Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc.'s Medical Director, Michael Santos, MD (second from the left) with ADB Principal Health Specialist for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Eduardo P. Banzon (middle), and GE Healthcare Philippines Country Manager, Ivan Alexi R. Arota (right)

"By ensuring accessible and quality healthcare for everyone, the government is making investments that can build and sustain economic prosperity in the country," said Ivan Alexi Arota, Philippine Country Manager of GE Healthcare, which is among the business units of the global digital industrial giant, General Electric, committed to sustainable solutions.

"Over the years, we have made significant advances in improving our country's healthcare system, but a lot of work still lies ahead. If both the public and private sectors work together, we can close more healthcare gaps by 2022," Arota added.

Affordable and quality healthcare for all

The administration's healthcare policies take cue from the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

SDG Goal  specifically focuses on reproductive, maternal, and child health, as well as communicable, non-communicable, and environmental diseases – all recognized by the DOH as concerns the government must address.

The DOH also highlighted the need to build a functional network of healthcare facilities that can easily respond to people's needs. According to Arota, innovative business models, financing, and multi-lateral partnerships can ensure long-term sustainability of quality and accessible healthcare.

One such model is Ayala Healthcare Holdings Inc.'s FamilyDOC, a chain of community-based primary care clinics targeted to the growing middle class. The model is a 3-in-1 concept that combines the services of an outpatient, a diagnostic facility, and a pharmacy, all under one roof.

"An effective way to enhance health system responsiveness is to make quality healthcare services available in communities," said Ayala Healthcare Holdings, Inc.'s Medical Director, Michael Santos, MD.

"We believe FamilyDOC can complement government services by offering affordable primary care. Through our clinics, Ayala Health aims to close the gaps of access and affordability in health," Santos added.

Role of healthcare technology

Investing in advanced technology is also critical in improving diagnoses and clinical outcomes in maternal and child care, as well as non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

For instance, FamilyDOC keeps patient data safe, secure, and accessible in all branches through the Electronic Medical Record system.

"Advanced medical technology is necessary in building a more efficient and responsive healthcare system, but it is often costly. We need healthcare solutions that are affordable but do not sacrifice quality and performance, Arota said.

Arota cited GE Healthcare's collaboration with health ministries in South Asia, Africa, and Southeast Asia to reach underserved populations.

Nine medical machines developed by GE also made it to the World Health Organization Compendium for Innovative Technologies for Low Income Setitngs. Included in the list is the Vscan portable ultrasound, which was introduced to the Philippines early this year.