Achieving Universal Health Coverage in the Philippines Through Digital Technology

Together with Cisco, ACCESS Health hosted a roundtable discussion on harnessing digital health for achieving universal health care (UHC) on 18 January 2021. Participants from government ministries handling health and/or technology, private sector developers of eHealth solutions, and academics working in this field provided multifaceted perspectives on the challenges at hand in more fully realizing digital health’s benefits. The roundtable was structured around ten action points that ACCESS Health identified in a 2019 white paper about how digital technology is key to achieving UHC in Southeast Asia. The roundtable contextualized these challenges to the Philippines, such as establishing a clear national mandate for eHealth, ring-fencing public funding for it, and harnessing the private sector to help overcome inequitable access to healthcare using digital platforms.
The event was well-timed given that a number of bills are being deliberated in Congress concerning eHealth. Also, private sector innovations have emerged in recent months like GoHealth for microinsurance and HealthNow for an all-in-one health app. Appropriate next steps concerning the ten action points were identified by participants that promise to improve the Philippines’ eHealth infrastructure over the coming years.