Healthcare and technology go hand in hand, as new technologies enable hospitals to improve their service and help save more lives. With that, an increasing number of hospitals are relying more on digital innovation to help aid operations. One such hospital is AMHC, which now uses the Microsoft Suite of applications.
Healthcare in the Philippines is going through important changes – some good and some bad. Life expectancy is up, but we also failed to meet targets on maternal and child health under the Millennium Development Goals. Fertility is down. Infectious diseases like cholera and dengue are re-emerging – brought on by overflowing urban populations and climate change – and old ones like HIV/AIDS are reaching epidemic levels in Cebu, Davao, and Manila.
This is exacerbated by the fact that access to quality healthcare has long been a problem in the Philippines. The quality of healthcare is wildly inconsistent from hospital to hospital, and between urban and rural areas. Meanwhile, out-of-pocket spending on healthcare as of 2014 was at 81.7 percent per the World Health Organization, far above the 45.5 percent global average.
Faced with these challenges, some of our best hospitals have begun looking closely at medical informatics, or health informatics, as a critical part of the solution. Among these hospitals, perhaps the most committed to data-driven healthcare is Asian Hospital and Medical Center (AHMC). While many decision-makers in the health sector struggle to realize the benefits of information technology (IT), AHMC has gone beyond simply going digital to leveraging advanced analytics that promise better outcomes for the hospital’s patients at a lower total cost of care.
Exceeding international standards of care
“We look at digital and IT as a means of providing value healthcare,” says Dr. Juan Antonio Javellana, Director of Medical Informatics at AHMC. “Integrating these technologies with modern medicine allows us to treat patients better and more quickly, as we deal with changing risk factors and new infectious diseases.”
A roadmap towards digitally enabled healthcare
AHMC management however feels that there remains a lot to be done, even as the hospital is now regarded as one of the best in the Philippines. Having more specific, more detailed, and more accurate clinical data is now one of the biggest concerns of the Medical Informatics team.
Having digitized all of the hospital’s lab information, the Medical Informatics department is now working with AHMC’s pharmacy module. The vision is to provide clinical decision support, such as alerting doctors about patient allergies to certain medications or instances where too many interactions between medications take place.
According to Dr. Javellana, the hospital will soon deploy that same system onto the floor so managers can see how patients go from one area of the hospital to another, ultimately letting doctors treat them faster and better.
Security and data privacy, along with easy integration with other IT assets, were also important factors in AHMC’s move towards Power BI and data-driven healthcare. Having complied with the recommendations of the National Privacy Commission, AHMC is looking to take full advantage of the security features of SQLServer and other Microsoft solutions, all of which are controlled by the Medical Informatics team within the Office 365 interface.
“There will come a time when all diagnosis and treatment information, and even Philhealth information, will be sent digitally,” says Dr. Javellana. “And as we move towards having our own hybrid cloud facilities, our goal is to provide the best healthcare while keeping patient data safe. Power BI, Office 365, and SQL give us the capability of delivering the best care we can in the most secure way possible.”