A consumer group called for the "digital transformation" of the health care sector to address the major gaps in delivering medical services to the Filipino people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement issued on July 28, 2020, CitizenWatch Philippines said the digital transformation of the Philippine health sector will make health care services more efficient and more accessible.
"To effectively address these life-threatening problems, the health sector must immediately shift to digital platforms as a safe, convenient, and reliable tool for delivering health care services to patients," said CitizenWatch Philippines convenor Orlando Oxales.
Oxales said that with telemedicine and other digital solutions, "patients are no longer forced to risk contact with others and potential infection when they physically visit a medical institution of a government agency."
"Instead, services such as clinical consultation become accessible from home," he said.
Oxales said that, "integrating innovative technologies is critical in implementing health laws such as the Universal Health Care and National Integrated Cancer Control Act".
He said shifting to cloud-based technologies will greatly enhance the public health care system benefitting the whole health care ecosystem with solutions for big data analytics, on-demand healthcare, virtual reality, artificial intelligence tools for treatment, blockchain technology for electronic health records, and other applications that should be accessible through mobile networks.
In particular, CitizenWatch Philippines called on the government to remove the bureaucratic barriers that have hampered the development of the digital infrastructure for many decades.
"Public investment in digital infrastructure complemented with the right partnerships with the private sector and health care stakeholders is the whole-of-society approach we need to overcome our health crisis," said Oxales.
The group also cited the need to fully enforce the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) law and permanently demolish the bureaucratic barriers at the national and local levels.
Finally, CitizenWatch Philippines asked the government to enable the telecom industry to help build future-proof digital infrastructure network to meet the fast-growing demand of a digitized society linking the ecosystems of government, private industries, and consumers to cloud-based services that are secure, stable and fast.
"All these can only be possible if we have a robust nationwide and future proof digital infrastructure that will deliver fast broadband services," said Oxales.
Citizen Watch Philippines is a strong network of citizen-led organizations, volunteers and leaders of society seeking a free, integrated and just for national development.