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Monday, May 29, 2017

Batangas is First Beneficiary of Smart-initiated Operation Smile App


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An Operation Smile volunteer takes a photo of a 7-month-old cleft patient using the Operation Smile app during a medical mission in Batangas City.

For the first time, Operation Smile Philippines used its patient-mapping mobile application to record and track cleft patients’ medical information in a recent medical mission conducted in Batangas City.

The Operation Smile app was conceptualized by PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications to help digitize and store medical information, monitor patients’ treatment, and locate areas with high population of cleft patients to maximize efficiency of medical missions.

After screening patients and gathering their information through the app, Operation Smile performed cleft repair surgery on them at Jesus of Nazareth Hospital in Batangas City.

Norma Decipeda, 37, was thankful her 7-month-old son was among the patients treated by Operation Smile. Residents of Isla Verde, the Decipeda family had to travel by boat to get to Batangas City. She said the surgery would definitely help her son achieve a better quality of life.

Her son is one of the patients now being documented and monitored through the Operation Smile app. The app, which is available as a free download for Apple and Android devices, can be installed and used by anyone. Operation Smile encourages everyone to download the app, create an account and follow the instructions on how to upload details of a potential patient for inclusion in succeeding medical missions.

A volunteer doctor checks on a toddler cleft patient before endorsing him for a surgery during the Operation Smile medical mission at Jesus of Nazareth Hospital in Batangas City.
Information stored through the app will be uploaded to a web program that can be accessed only by authorized Operation Smile personnel. These data will then help Operation Smile monitor the patients’ progress and provide further treatment as needed. Operation Smile ensures that patient information is secure as it has a strict policy on data privacy.

“It is estimated that one out of 500 babies are born with a cleft deformity. But where are they? That’s the challenge for us. With the help of the app, we will be able to find them,” said Operation Smile Philippines executive director Gian Trebol.

“By digitizing health information and making health services accessible via mobile, we can help not just monitor patient progress, but also refer them for further treatment. It is important to track the treatment process because cleft care is not just a one-time thing; some patients require several surgeries over a period of time,” said Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto.

Doctors perform surgery on a cleft patient on the first day of the Operation Smile medical mission in Batangas City.
Operation Smile will be conducting succeeding medical missions at the following areas: Bacolod Adventist Medical Center in Bacolod City from May 18-27, Mindanao Medical Center in General Santos City from May 19-27, in Surigao City also from May 19-27, and in Manila from June 27-30.

Operation Smile welcomes donations and volunteers to help run the medical missions. Smart subscribers may donate as low as P5 by texting SMILE (space) (amount) to 4483. For more information, contact 09391768833, or visit http://www.operationsmile.org/, http://www.operationsmile.org.ph, and https://www.facebook.com/OpSmilePhil/.

In celebration of its 35th anniversary, Operation Smile hopes to eradicate the backlog of cleft incidents in the Philippines. Smart, for its part, seeks to advance healthcare in its efforts toward nation-building by partnering with institutions and enhancing programs using technology.

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