Moncada, Tarlac, Philippines –- The University of the Philippines Manila – National Telehealth Center’s Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS) made history as it forged partnerships between the public and private sectors through the Wireless Access for Health (WAH) project initiative launched last June 22, 2010.
“It has been a long time but definitely worth the wait,” said Dr. Alvin Marcelo, director of the UPM-NThC and national program coordinator for CHITS. “This is just the beginning. The transformation process for the national health information system will begin at the grassroots and CHITS is helping LGUs achieve that.”
CHITS was a key component that brought the stakeholders together and WAH “leveraged their expertise and resources in public health, medical care, technology, and training in creating an electronic health record system that meets the needs of health care decision makers on varying levels, ranging from midwives to doctors to policy makers,” said the province’s health office and Qualcomm Inc.
As an open-source, web-based Electronic Health Record system specifically designed for government health centers, CHITS has been expanded to support data collection and reporting for all 23 of the regularly used indicators in the Department of Health’s 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 as it improves access to quality patient records for clinicians and quality data.
“CHITS improves patient care and access to public health information by consolidating data captured during patient visits into reports for health care 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. Utilizing CHITS has “improved patient care and more efficient patient visits” as the time needed to search for records is reduced to just seconds. The ability to easily view, record and share patient information simultaneously across multiple computers within a health clinic allows clinicians to complete patient consultations earlier, resulting in increased capacity to provide further support to community health workers.
Dr. Ramos continued, “The system’s accurate and timely submission of health data is important in helping the government to identify and prevent disease outbreaks across the Philippines.”
“Good health is fundamental to our lives. The use of electronic health record systems improves patient care and public health by making it easier for health care workers to both record and report patient information,” said John Stefanac, vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm Southeast Asia and Pacific.
“We congratulate the University of the Philippines Manila – National Telehealth Center for being the pioneering force behind a homegrown systematic health information recording system that is CHITS,” said Myra Emata-Stokes, chief of The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Program Resources Management during the launch.
The project initiative event highlighted the ceremonial turnover of the transmission of the FHSIS report to the Department of Health by the project partners including Tarlac Governor Victor Yap, Dr. Nemesio T. Gako of the Department of Health, Dr. Ricardo P. Ramos of Tarlac Provincial Health Office, Dr. Isidro C. Sia of the University of the Philippines Manila, Dr. Glenard T. Madriaga of the Tarlac State University, John Stefanac of Qualcomm Inc., Myra Emata-Stokes of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Orlando B. Vea of Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART) and Moncada town Mayor Benny Aquino.
The project initiative was made possible through the collaboration of public-private partners: agencies of the Philippines Department of Health, including the National Epidemiology Center, the Information Management Service and the Center for Health Development for Region 3, local government units in Tarlac, the University of the Philippines Manila-National Telehealth Center (UPM-NThC), Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative, RTI International, Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART), Tarlac State University, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
CHITS was first used in May 2004 in Lagrosa Health Center in Pasay City. It is now in 36 health centers around the country.