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The Philippines to Accelerate Health Tracking System Software Project

The Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application of one of a software company’s Digital Health Solutions as a new software developer under the Innovation Drivers – Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS) Platform.

The digital health solutions company is a spin-off of the University of the Philippines Manila for the Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS) technology. The company plans to invest P26 million in its facility in Barangay Moonwalk, Paranaque City, to commercialise CHITS technology. Commercial operations have already started in April 2021 and will employ around 48 people in its full capacity.

The Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS), one of six Philhealth-certified electronic medical records (EMR) systems used at the Regional Health Unit (RHU) level, minimises patient wait times and improves patient care monitoring through efficient data encoding and record retrieval. Through an appropriate information and communication strategy, the technology seeks to contribute to the effective and efficient delivery of health services, as well as to aid in health decision-making at the local level. When using CHITS, a patient’s records can be searched in just a few seconds after admission, and laboratory requests, results, and reports can be generated automatically.

The entire system is designed to mimic the workflow of primary healthcare facilities, including the paper-based recording process, to aid in the digitisation of health information. This setup will make it easier for health staff or users to learn and use the system with the least amount of monitoring.

The company’s supported biomedical device capable of measuring a patient’s temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, uterine contractions, and ECG readings, is one of two EMRs that can effortlessly link and interoperate with CHITS. It has also been demonstrated to be interoperably utilising the Health Level 7-Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) international health IT standard, which is utilised for data transmission among various healthcare providers.

The CHITS has already been granted copyright protection. The proponent shall continue to create, maintain, enhance, and sell the software “CHITS” as the sole licensee and exclusive distributor.

“The use of EMR would allow healthcare facilities, both private and public, to provide faster and quality health care services, especially now that every Filipino is entitled to them under the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law. EMR systems are useful in identifying COVID-19 trends and potential cases while aiming to limit the spread of the virus by measuring the number of beds being used,” said Department of Trade and Industry undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo.

Patients, doctors, clinics, and hospitals will all be connected through the company’s comprehensive health platform. Through its expanding platform, the organisation is currently collaborating with the Department of Health and PhilHealth to develop a universal healthcare system for Filipinos.

In addition, the digital health company and an online medical and/or dental appointment booking system joined together to provide digital healthcare solutions. The alliance intends to develop an integrated telemedicine system based on electronic medical records that will give all Filipinos a safe, secure, and accessible healthcare service.

When CHITS is linked with the online medical booking system, doctors and medical institutions can receive training that includes telemedicine certifications and CPD units. According to the BOI, more health professionals will be well-equipped to provide and offer the treatment their patients require in the future, regardless of distance.

OpenGov Asia in an article also reported that the Philippines government will push ahead to develop medical technology for the country, citing the demand amid the pandemic, an official from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The Undersecretary highlighted those regional and local vendors are increasingly shifting to cheaper equipment. The local market for medical devices, she noted, is strongly dependent upon imports, with over 100% imported medical equipment and approximately 50% imported medical devices.

DOST includes its biomedical health devices programme as one of its objectives in addressing this issue. This would meet the need for innovative research and local development, for the support and treatment of reliable, safe, and inexpensive biomedical equipment. The curriculum would also enhance biomedical engineering skills and competence and adjacent fields.

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