Makati, Philippines-The Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS), the country’s first electronic medical record system for government health facilities, shares its triumph with public health workers upon winning a “Best Health Market Innovation Award” in last night’s Galing-Likha Kalusugan Awards.
Department of Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Presidential Sister Aurora Corazon Aquino-Abellada, Mr. Reiner Gloor, President of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, and Dr. Alejandro Herrin, Chair, Project Steering Committee of the Galing Likha Kalusugan Awards presented the award. Dr. Portia Fernandez-Marcelo, Director of UP Manila National Telehealth Center (NTHC), along with the CHITS team members Dr. Marie Irene Sy and Noel A. Bañez, RN received the award. In her acceptance speech, Dr. Marcelo emphasized the role of public health workers as the “real” champions in improving health care delivery through CHITS.
CHITS was given the award due to its significant contribution to improving health care delivery in government health centers. Nurses and midwives who usually record health data on paper were trained to use the system to generate timely reports for DOH national vertical health programs. With the persistence of its program implementers, delays for accessing of health data were minimized giving more time for health workers to give care to patients at the health center.
“Kung hindi tayo, sino? Kung hindi ngayon, Kailan pa? (If not us, then who? If not now then when?) was Dr. Marcelo’s bold statement after describing CHITS’ success in revolutionizing record-keeping in government health centers. It has been recorded that CHITS has surpassed challenges in making the system work with most public health workers who do not know how to use computers.
CHITS, along with Wireless Access for Health (WAH), NKTI Hemodialysis Center-Fresnius Medical Care Lease Agreement, and the Franchise Networks of Generics Pharmacies, topped other 117 health programs in health care service delivery, financing, facilitation, regulation, and promotion that have creatively address problems that plague health care in the Philippines.
The award was given by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in partnership with the Center for Health Market Innovation (CHMI) to innovative health programs that have changed how health care transactions are delivered in the market place.
CHITS implementers underwent a tedious process of revalidas and interviews by the PIDS screening committee and several health experts in the country. From the 117 programs, CHITS was streamlined to 46 health projects and down to top 20 outstanding health programs. The top four programs hailed as the “Best Health Market Innovation” were chosen based on;
- Impact on many agents or principals with the overall effect deemed to be positive for the society;
- Sustainability for the purpose of replication and implementation on a larger scale;
- Pro-poor orientation to meet the health needs of the people in lower income groups and those with insufficient access; and
- Adoption of appropriate technology that is interesting, unique and pioneering
NTHC not only brought home the bacon with CHITS but also with the BuddyWorks Telehealth Project entering Top 20. Ms. Lucille Nieverra, World Health Organization Representative from the Philippines, lauded Buddywork’s promise “to deliver health care despite barriers of distance” in her opening message.
NTHC also co-received the Best Health Market Innovation Award for the Wireless Access for Health with the Provincial Government of Tarlac, RTI international, United States Agency for International Development, Smart Communications, Inc., Tarlac State University, and the National Epidemiological Center and Information Management Service of DOH in scaling up the use CHITS in the province of Tarlac.
CHMI is an international global network that researches and documents innovative health programs around that have significantly changed how health is delivered in the marketplace. CHMI puts importance to projects that can be scaled up and replicated in other regions of the world.
CHITS or Community Health Information Tracking System is the first ever electronic medical record system for Philippine health centers operating in open source‐software. It was designed by Dr. Herman D. Tolentino, together with the health professionals of Pasay and operates on open‐source software. In May 2004, CHITS was piloted in Pasay through a grant from PANASIA‐ICT, a joint
funding of the International Development Research Center of Canada and the United Nations Development Programme. As of July 2011, CHITS has been installed in over 50 health centers nationwide.
The UP Manila National Telehealth Center
Established in June 1998, the University of the Philippines National Telehealth Center (UPM NTHC), has been collaborating with different sectors in the realm of information and communications technology (ICT) for health and development. The Center affirms its mandate of “putting health in the hands of the people” through available technologies by linking health care professionals of the Premier State University and the communities, especially the underserved.
The Center works under the OneHealth banner, NTHC’s three-point program that merges innovative applications in eLearning, eRecords, and eMedicine for health care and eHealth policy advocacy.
UPM NTHC collaborates with like-minded institutions to harness support for better health care for all through technologies that are accessible, affordable, appropriate, and culturally acceptable for Filipinos. By banking on individual’s capacities, the center believes that people can use information and communications technology for sound decision making contributing to better health outcomes. NTHC technologies are built in the strength of free and open source software.