Wireless Access for Health goes Regional: A Diffusion of Innovation

Wireless Access for Health (WAH) was successfully piloted in the four municipalities of Tarlac Province. The pilot project’s results have been positive at the rural health units in Gerona, Moncada, Paniqui and Victoria. For this initiative, it was awarded the Galing Likha-Kalusugan Award of Excellence by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) and Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) in November 2011. The Galing Likha-Kalusugan (GLK) Award is a distinction given to public and private organizations that best exemplify the highest level of innovation in the country’s health marketplace.

WAH is particularly lauded for its broad public-private partnership that has succeeded in enhancing a locally-developed electronic medical record system. WAH is a multisectoral effort of the Department of Health, the Center for Health Development-Region III, the UP-National Telehealth
Center (NThC), Tarlac Provincial Hospital, Tarlac State University, and USAID. According to Mr. Pey Canlas, project coordinator of WAH, they are now in Phase 2 of the implementation of the project. This includes the province-wide SMS and Mobile Midwife pilot testing. To support this, Smart Communications has turned over thirteen (13) Qualcomm-powered Smart 701 Netphones to Tarlac Provincial Hospital and Tarlac State University. The stakeholders have also drafted the roadmap for the much anticipated expansion of WAH-EMR in Central Luzon. At the workshop held last year, it was agreed that WAH is to be advocated and replicated in at least 1 health unit in the remaining six provinces in Region III by the end of 2012. The group also developed and adopted a time-action-plan of the activities for 2012 to be led by the WAH project management team. Regional expansion in Central Luzon will begin on April.

Another positive development is the extension of the financial grant for the project by Qualcomm to cover year three from 2012-2013.

With the continuing success of the project, the implementers vow to continue to scale up their activities in the region and hopefully in the whole country as well, so as to improve public health care in the Philippines.