Dr. Mohamed Jamal Deen, president of the Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada, shared his work on “ubiquitous health” (U-health) as speaker and guest of honor of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) during his lecture on “Smarter Homes, Better Healthcare” on August 21, 2015 at The Manila Hotel.

The lecture was organized by the NAST PHL, in partnership with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It focused on the role of ICT in creating “smart” homes for better healthcare services for the elderly.

Dr. Deen discussed ways to address the need for U-healthin the elderly age group. He explained the importance of cost-effective technologies for health care at home. According to him, healthcare is challenged by “three interlocking crises”—rising cost, older population, and quality of healthcare.

He conducted studies on walking, with the use of sensors to measure, analyze, and correlate walking information with health and to provide recommendations depending on their age. Dr. Deen showed his works with his colleagues—the C-shirt, a contactless, continuous, and mobile ECG monitoring on a shirt; and the “Smart Living Dairy, which provides healthcare from home by monitoring activities, analyzing and recommending nutrition consumption, and monitoring sleeping conditions to improve sleep quality.

Dr. Alvin B. Marcelo, associate professor of Surgery and Health Informatics, University of the Philippines Manila, discussed eHealth or “Information and Communications Technology (ICT) for health”. He enumerated the eHealth projects available in the Philippine community, specifically in rural health units, such as electronic medical records, RxBox, and telemedicine, and community eCenters.

Dr. Marcelo explained the importance of governance in eHealth in managing and combining “complex domains” like healthcare and ICT. According to him, governance, architecture, and standards are important components of the national health information system. He stated the need for investment on Filipino researchers and expressed his concern in the growing number of researchers seeking greener pastures abroad.

Dr. Jay M. Sabido, research and development executive, Systems and Technology Group, IBM Philippines discussed the disruptions in the healthcare industry and cognitive computing technology. Dr. Sabido stated that for more than 50 years, spending on healthcare has increased considerably faster than our country’s GDP growth. He said that organizations must embrace new technologies to address disruptions faced by the healthcare industry. He introduced and explained “cognitive computing” as a new computation paradigm that learns and processes knowledge from various sources of information; interacts more naturally with humans and understands natural language; and improves decision-making in an organization, among others.

According to him, cognitive computing has already started to help healthcare organizations in providing personalized healthcare platforms to consumers. He said that this will pave the way for new possibilities like using historical data and analysis to help decide best treatment options, effective and timely matching of patients to clinical trials, and better managing of health-related issues.

The activity was organized by the Health Sciences Division (HSD) of NAST PHL, with its chair as focal person, Academician Jaime C. Montoya, who is also the executive director of PCHRD.