How AC Health managed to employ an integrated ecosystem approach in responding to COVID-19 | Healthcare Asia Magazine

How AC Health managed to employ an integrated ecosystem approach in responding to COVID-19

Its holistic approach in curbing COVID-19 has allowed AC Health to cover the entire continuum of care services.

When COVID-19 first hit the Philippines, the country struggled to timely test potential cases, manage patients, and mobilize stakeholders. Committed to supporting the government’s efforts in strengthening the country’s COVID response, AC Health leveraged its unique ecosystem to help address the gaps, remaining steadfast to its mandate of providing quality, affordable, and accessible healthcare to Filipinos.

To effectively manage the spread of the virus, AC Health launched a multipronged approach, establishing a strong presence across all patient touch points and providing end-to-end services to Filipinos.

Early in the crisis, AC Health led a consortium to scale up the country’s RT-PCR testing capacities, which included building 7 BSL-2 laboratories across the country. This translated to an additional capacity for 5,500 RT-PCR tests per day, in support of the government’s Project T3 (Test, Trace, Treat) initiative.

When the demand for inpatient COVID care rose and hospitals were overwhelmed, AC Health responded in two ways. First, its Healthway clinics continued operations to triage and service non-COVID related concerns, effectively decongesting hospitals. Second, AC Health converted its four QualiMed hospitals into COVID-19 referral facilities.

More than half of QualiMed’s beds were dedicated to COVID cases, including ICUs. AC Health also augmented its existing team of medical professionals with more staffing to help manage the increased demand.

When the COVID vaccines arrived in the Philippines in 2021, AC Health launched COVIDShield, a synergistic vaccination program for the private sector that brought in support from all key businesses of AC Health. This vaccination program did not only cater to the Ayala Group employees and their families but also to numerous other partners including corporate clients, local government units, and even academic institutions. 

As of May 2022, the group has administered over 770,000 doses of COVID vaccines across over 30 sites nationwide, becoming one of the largest private sector administrators in the Philippines.

Amidst the necessity of digital health services due to the lockdowns and restrictions that ensued, HealthNow, AC Health’s healthcare superapp, ensured its users continued access to teleconsultations and medicine deliveries. The app also proved vital in the COVIDShield program, providing a single platform wherein patients could book their vaccinations and post-vaccination consults.

AC Health’s pharma businesses, Generika and IE Medica/MedEthix, also continued to ensure adequate supply of medicines. Like Healthway, Generika sought to maintain operations in its drugstores nationwide. MedEthix was also the first in the Philippines to bring in Molnupiravir, an oral antiviral treatment for mild cases of COVID-19.

Through this holistic approach to managing COVID, AC Health was able to cover the entire continuum of care, from diagnosis to treatment, and even prevention and patient education. It not only leveraged its unique portfolio of healthcare assets but also partnered with the national government, local municipalities, and various private companies, rallying different sectors to find solutions and fill the gaps.

AC Health’s important leadership role in combating the COVID-19 crisis in the Philippines was recently recognized at the Healthcare Asia Awards 2022, where they garnered COVID Management Initiative of the Year - Philippines.

The awards program aims to honor hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers that have risen above the challenges and made a remarkable impact to their patients amidst the massive disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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