DOH boosts universal health care program via eHealth innovation

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Feb. 4 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) said on Tuesday it has intensified its campaign to bring the Universal Health Care (Kalusugang Pangkalahatan) Program of the government to the farthest points in the country in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

In partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the DOH, under the leadership of Secretary Enrique T. Ona, has crafted the eHealth care system to give quality and innovative health treatment and services even in the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) of the Philippine archipelago.

“It (referring to eHealth care system) is a way to ensure that right health information on the right person is provided at the right place and the right time in a secure way to optimize the efficiency of health care delivery,” Dr. Ona said in his speech during the First Philippine eHealth Summit held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel in Pasay City.

Ona explained that the eHealth system is a new innovation that aims to replace the old manner of recording the data of the patient/s and at the same time gives full access for every Filipino down to the disadvantaged and isolated sectors in fulfillment of giving them access to universal health care.

He said that under this new innovation, it is expected that there will be an improved delivery of health-care system for people, especially in the rural areas where the presence of modernized hospital facilities and health providers is limited in comparison to urban areas.

He added that it is like bringing the health care facilities and doctors closer to the people in the rural communities as they can avail themselves of consultations through the use of the telehealth device for remote consultation and data gathering RxBox developed by the DOST.

“Under the RxBox device, remote consultation can be made possible. A pregnant woman (from a rural area), for example, can undergo pre-natal check-up with health professional/s, including the best of experts in urban areas and even seek medical advice,” he said.

The consultation is made possible as the device also enables the flow of information as it gathers, stores and processes the data provided by the patient to the rural health worker/s where she first undergoes consultation.

To ensure that accurate information and data are available for health practitioners and decision makers, the Philippine Health Information Exchange (PHIE) has been set up and targeted to be fully operational by December 2014.

At present, the RxBox is currently deployed in 20 sites in the country and this number is expected to increase further every year to provide accessibility to other remote areas until reaching the goal of providing greater access to all Filipinos under the e-Health system by 2016.

Among the provinces where the RxBox device is currently available are Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Samar, Mindoro, Romblon, Quezon, Kalinga, Abra, and Batanes.

The DOH said it is the first time in history that attempt to bring health services to the farthest locations in the country has been realized under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, working towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of providing every Filipino access to universal health care and services. (PNA)