The webinar “Artificial Intelligence and Universal Health Care: Will the Twain ever meet?” was conducted via Zoom and Facebook Live on April 28, 2023. More than 100 students, academic staff of different universities, nurses, doctors, and other members of different healthcare institutions participated in the webinar organized by the Current Trends and Issues in Nursing and Healthcare class of the UST Graduate School.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently a contentious topic as it continues to advance technological innovation. Its implications for the Philippine healthcare system and its impact on healthcare professions are issues worth investigating. Meanwhile, ensuring health equity through Universal Health Care is another pressing concern. Although these two concepts may seem contradictory, they have both left their mark on the healthcare industry. As a result, the webinar examined the potential for these seemingly opposing ideas to intersect and find common ground.
Prof. Rowena Escolar-Chua, Ph.D., the Program Lead of the Nursing and Hospital Administration Master’s programs and Dean of the UST College of Nursing, delivered the welcome remarks.
The resource speaker was Prof. Annabelle R. Borromeo, Ph.D., the current Chief Nursing Officer of Metro Pacific Health, the largest group of private hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the Philippines. She was awarded by the Professional Regulation Commission as 2022 Outstanding Professional in Nursing and has worked in the areas of patient experience and patient safety for more than 20 years.
Borromeo highlighted that the healthcare industry is currently in the early stages of adopting AI technology. She provided insights on the potential applications of AI in healthcare, before transitioning to the topic of Universal Health Care. She provided an overview of the system, its coverage, and how individuals can avail themselves of it in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for the health system’s building blocks, action domains, and outcomes, including quality, efficiency, equity, accountability, sustainability, and resilience. She argued that data management using Artificial Intelligence would be key.
The discussion concluded with an examination of how AI-driven tools could help achieve the best possible outcomes for the Universal Health Care system and its impact on healthcare in the Philippines.
Course facilitator Dr. Teresita I. Barcelo, in her closing remarks, mentioned that there is a place for Artificial Intelligence but it should not replace people, and that ethics in the use of AI must be at its core. The webinar attendees gave impressions and feedback that they learned how AI can help our healthcare delivery systems such as our Universal Health Care with proper technical balance and ethical consideration and regulation.