Leveraging Digital Innovation to Strengthen Health Care Systems in Emerging Markets

Harnessing the power of the growing scope of technologies can spur faster progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Beatrice Murage, a Senior Scientist -Health Informatics at Philips Research Africa highlights how Philips is leveraging digital innovation to strengthen healthcare delivery.

In October 2018, global leaders convened for the Global Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC) in Kazakhstan.  The status of PHC since the Declaration of Alma – Ata in 1978 was reviewed and a new commitment made towards strengthening PHC. The PHC approach is key to achieving global goals in Universal Health Coverage and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. The new Declaration of Astana has renewed political commitment to PHC from Governments and different organizations. Providing care and services that promote, maintain and improve maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health is one of the key commitments made in Astana. Knowledge, capacity building and technology are some of the drivers of success for PHC outlined in the new declaration.

Healthcare delivery in emerging markets faces challenges in availability, accessibility, affordability and awareness. Shortage of trained healthcare professionals is often the biggest challenge in these countries. According to the World Health Organization, one mechanism to alleviate shortage of doctors and healthcare services in emerging markets is to leverage the use of digital mobile technology and the internet. Philips remains committed to supporting transformation of PHC in underserved markets across Africa. Our experience in many countries has taught us that local ownership and responsibility are key prerequisites for enduring success. Thus, our commitment is long-term. We seek to collaborate with the right stakeholders, to make quality healthcare available and affordable to people across the entire socio-economic spectrum and healthcare continuum. Philips leverages drivers like knowledge, capacity building and technology to strengthen PHC and support the achievement of Universal Health Coverage by 2030. 

The Community Life Center (CLC) is a Philips solution that offers a community driven holistic platform for strengthening primary and community healthcare. This platform is both flexible, modular and open for third parties. We start by listening to the needs and requirements of the local community and make sure that our CLC is fully integrated into local healthcare systems. This assessment then forms the basis for defining the service delivery and the necessary solutions. The CLC is fully integrated and adaptive to both present and future health burdens of the communities it serves. Integrated digital health solutions like Phoenix, Mobile Obstetrics Monitoring (MOM) and Monitoring and Evaluation (MEL) are part of the CLC solution.

Digital products and solutions available at PHC level in most emerging markets are highly fragmented, do not provide a comprehensive view of care, and are difficult to scale. An integrated and longitudinal view of the patient is not available. Philips takes a platform approach, called Phoenix, to solve these problems through a wide range of integrated and interoperable propositions. The MOM software solution is an application for strengthening maternal and child health service delivery between community and health facility levels. It helps community caregivers and doctors work together to identify and manage high-risk pregnancies, bringing care to where it is urgently needed: primary health centers and patients’ homes. MOM is coupled with the Philips community outreach kit, a backpack designed to equip community health workers in their tasks. Finally, our MEL solution has a two-pronged offering – the remote monitoring (RM) solution and key performance indicators (KPI) monitoring solution. RM is used to monitor assets, devices and other resources via a digital solution. The KPI monitoring solution is used to track KPIs at primary health care facilities e.g. antenatal clinic visits, number of births and immunization uptake. Philips will continue to invest in these technology-driven solutions that leverage on data to support healthcare planning processes.


The guest writer, Dr Beatrice Murage, a Senior Scientist -Health Informatics at Philips Research Africa here is a link to their work: PHILIPS/FABRIC OF AFRICA