Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Philippine HIT Accelerating

The National Telehealth Center (NThC) within the University of Philippines (UPM) in Manila has been using telemedicine services over the past five years. The NThC currently maintains a network of more than 100 doctors and 20 domain experts with coverage as far north as Batanes and as far south as Tawi-Tawi.

NThC’s “Community Health Information Tracking System” (CHITS), an open-source web-based EHR system is working with the public and private sector through their 3G “Wireless Access for Health” (WAH) project. The WAH project recently completed the pilot phase recording over 12,000 patient consultations.

WAH is a collaborative consisting of the agencies of the Philippines Department of Health, Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative, RTI International, Smart Communications, Inc., Tarlac State University, UPM-NThC, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

CHITS was developed by the university and specifically designed for government health centers. The system makes it possible for local healthcare providers to compile reports on public health and send this information to the Field Health Service Information System (FHSIS).

Data submitted to the FHSIS through CHITS is used for policy analysis and planning at all levels of the public health system and helps clinicians have better access to quality patient records. The system provides good access to public health information and consolidates reports on patient visits. CHITS can be used on portable devices such as handheld game consoles and with communication devices such as Apple’s iPhone, and iPad.

“CHITS consolidates data captured during patient visits into reports for healthcare workers in four health units in the Tarlac region of the Philippines,” stated Dr. Ricardo P. Ramos, Chief of the Tarlac Provincial Health Unit. The project has trained 40 midwives and nurses at the rural health units in Gerona, Moncada, Paniqui, and Victoria to use computers for the first time, reduced the time needed to search for records to just seconds, plus Tarlac State University is developing software to meet the needs of the system.

In June, CHITS was showcased at the Summer Seminar on Population presented by UPM- NThC at the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Hawaii-based East West Center. The UPM-NThC team discussed NThC’s eHealth initiatives that include eLearning for health, eMedicine or telemedicine, and eRecords. Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) was also introduced at the showcase to participants from the U.S., China, Thailand, India, and the Philippines.