Healthcare Blog of Dr. Remo Aguilar

Disruptive innovations that will potentially change delivery of healthcare in the Philippines

in Medicine/Social Media/Technology by

What is disruptive technology?

A disruptive technology is an innovation providing a product or service that is so compelling that everyone rapidly abandons their current way of doing things and flocks to what is new- Hank C. Lucas Jr (University of Maryland)

In an archipelagic country like the Philippines and with a healthcare delivery system lagging behind its neighbours, disruptive technologies offers us a new way of looking at problems. Disruptive technologies may also offer a cost effective solutions to lingering health care problems that has been besetting us for decades.  Healthcare problems that we often blame on lack of resources.

Here are some innovations in healthcare that might have just been knocking at our healthcare doors (infographic from Bertalan Mesko, Medical Futurist)


Here are my top three disruptive innovations that might just change the way we handle healthcare in the Philippines:

  1. Internet and social media– information explosion via the internet has tremendous leveraging effect on healthcare system. Access to medical information and collaborative work has never been easier and faster with internet. Social media on the other hand, has a provided us a new tool for engaging patients on a participatory type of medicine.
  2. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) revolutionized access to learning and education.  Healthcare education is already jumping on this innovation, albeit slowly in the Philippines. Although we definitely need formal, face to face, institution based medical education, other aspects of healthcare education (like learning healthcare systems or healthcare models that are not taught in medical school) can be learned tru MOOCs. MOOCs also brings down the prohibitive cost of medical education as well as “lack of resources” for learning that we so blamed in the academe.
  3. Telemedicine – Don’t have a healthcare professional in your location? Just video chat on an online physician elsewhere!  Don’t have a colleague to refer to or work with managing a patient? Just teleconference with another doctor elsewhere! The impact of this innovation to health care is enormous. In a country where healthcare delivery is very much affected by geography, human resources (the lack thereof) and prohibitive cost, telemedicine offers a unique way of addressing healthcare problems that remains under utilized until now.

Of course there are other disruptive innovations I can add to the list. These have not yet ” landed” on our shores or are probably experimental in their uses for healthcare in the Philippines. The 3d printing technology or 3d bioprinters for example, has helped in replication tissues that are very much needed by our body. In orthopedics, 3D printers have helped scientists and doctors create stem cells that could eventually develop into both bone and cartilage in the long-term.

So what among these disruptive technologies you think might help us solve some of our health care related problems in the Philippines?

Dr. Remo-tito Aguilar co-founded #HealthXPh. A board certified orthopedic surgeon, he is Chief of Clinics at General Santos Medical Center and Medical Specialist II Orthopedics at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City. Dr. Aguilar is a healthcare social media evangelist and writes his medical musings at The Cast & Curious (

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