July 14, 2022

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Accessible quality healthcare services for Filipinos

Healthcare industry players’ contribution to the country is crystal clear, being at the frontline in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic or generally being the sector that aids the people in taking care of their health, which should always be a number one priority.

The Metro Pacific Investments Corp.’s (MPIC) hospital unit Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. (MPHHI) and tech-based healthcare platform mWell PH are among those industry players contributing to maintaining and strengthening the country’s healthcare.

MPHHI is the largest private hospital group in the country, hence performing a significant part in looking after the well-being of Filipinos. And this is especially evident amid the pandemic.

The MPHHI hospitals responded right away to the public health emergency during the first months of the pandemic as the number of COVID-19 cases rapidly rose. They step up their dedicated COVID-19 bed capacities to treat the patients, reaching 850 total allocated beds within the network by the third quarter of 2020. That year, they were also able to do COVID-19 tests on 170,000 individuals.

By 2021, the number of Filipinos served by MPHHI hospitals has grown. They have conducted 640,000 COVID-19 tests, which was 276% more than the tests they did in the year prior. And of its 3,803 total hospital bed capacity, there are around 964 dedicated beds to COVID-19 patients.

Metro Pacific hospitals have provided quality healthcare services to around 3.1 million out-patients and 95,000 in-patients in 2021.

As they cared for Filipinos’ health, MPHHI also looked after their employees, from the doctors to the direct and outsourced employees, by creating working conditions that ensure their overall health, safety, and well-being. According to MPIC’s integrated report for 2021, 100% of MPHHI’s healthcare workers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of last year.

“MPHHI’s mission of bringing quality healthcare to Filipinos has been reinforced during the pandemic. Its critical role in the health frontline during this difficult time, providing essential medical care to patients with COVID-19 and otherwise, moved the company to fortify every aspect of its hospital operations, from upgrading facilities to protecting its doctors and personnel,” MPIC said in the report.

MPHHI has grown to 19 level 2 and 3 hospitals across the country since its first investment in Makati Medical Center in 2007. Among the hospitals in its portfolio are Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Asian Hospital and Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, and Davao Doctors Hospital. MPHHI hospitals are also supported by two allied health colleges, a central clinical laboratory, and an expanding network of primary care clinics and cancer care centers.

“MPHHI aims to continue expanding its network, and in turn, increase its contribution to improving healthcare accessibility to more Filipinos,” MPIC said.

Innovating healthcare

Filipinos’ access to healthcare became more challenging due to the safety concerns and implemented restrictions, especially at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns. To cope with such a situation, the healthcare sector innovated and adopted telemedicine. 

To continue providing medical services to patients while maintaining a safe hospital foot traffic amid the pandemic, MPHHI began looking into a ‘new normal’ solution three months into the pandemic, such as virtual consultation, mobile laboratories, remote patient monitoring, e-pharmacy, and continuity of care beyond the hospital room.

In July last year, MPIC officially launched the first fully-integrated one-stop health and lifestyle app in the country with mWell, which was developed to attend to Filipinos’ demand for care and treatment amid the pandemic, given the more challenging connection of patients with doctors and medical professionals.

“Even before the pandemic, Filipinos needed better access to healthcare. Many challenges and limitations hinder medical care and treatment, more so during this COVID-19 crisis. We are truly excited with mWell, the MPIC group’s investment in digital healthcare,” said MPIC Chairman and President Manuel V. Pangilinan.

mWell comprises services that allow everyone to virtually consult with a doctor as well as manage and improve their wellness.

Users can find various primary care and specialized doctors available on mWell, where they can book an online consultation, request an e-medical certificate, and get an e-prescription. 

For those wanting to improve their well-being, mWell also includes programs that empower them to meet their health and fitness goals.

With mWell’s free daily health tracker mWellness SCORE, one can measure their daily amount of exercise, sedentary behavior, sleep, and more through data-driven methods. It also provides fitness programs for those wanting to lose weight, shape up, or for better overall health, as well as healthy and tasty calorie-controlled recipes that nutritionists created.

When needing medicines, users are also enabled by mWell to access e-pharmacy service, with South Star Drug as its first e-pharmacy partner. They can also find healthcare plans through the platform.

“Filipinos will now have better access to healthcare with mWell. mWell makes available online healthcare solutions through a wide and sustainable network of medical experts and services,” Mr. Pangilinan said during the mWell virtual press launch. “With just a few taps, users can do a virtual checkup with doctors, select health and wellness programs, buy medicines, and do a lot more as we strengthen the mWell integrated digital healthcare ecosystem.” — Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio