Partnership to Improve Health Information System Forged

By Jovito Dy

Electronic medical records, synchronized patient alerts via SMS, real-time health data from the field and inter-connectivity for reporting and consolidation of health data. These are the advantages of a health information system built through the support of several companies and organizations.

The Wireless Access for Health (WAH) Initiative is “aimed at improving healthcare service delivery through the use of information technology platforms like 3G connectivity technology and electronic medical record.”

Piloted in Tarlac, the recent partnership of the Zuellig Family Foundation with the WAH will bring the system to its six partner-local government units (LGU) of Dao (Capiz), Don Salvador Benedicto (Negros Occidental), Ipil (Zamboanga Sibugay) and the Romblon towns of Cajidiocan, Magdiwang and San Fernando. In 2013, the system will also be introduced to ten more ZFF partner-LGUs in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The WAH Initiative has four main components. First is doing away with paper and having electronic medical records to promote real-time, data-driven planning for municipal health officers and local chief executives. Second is the sending of mobile text messages to remind patients of their scheduled consultations as well as to inform public about health promotion and programs.

The third component, “Mobile Midwife” aims to increase the productivity of rural health workers by capturing real-time data they gather from their field visits and synching it to the rural health unit central database using internet connectivity and smart phones.

The fourth component is the inter-connectivity of LGUs within a province for the electronic reporting and consolidation of health data. This allows having real-time and accurate health information.

Data in the WAH system can also be used for the DOH’s Field Health Service Information System. In the pipeline is enabling the use of WAH system information into the Philhealth system.

The partnership between ZFF and WAH was formalized with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement last September 26 at the Holiday Inn Clark Pampanga during the North Luzon Health Information Systems Forum. Present during the signing were Tarlac Governor Victor Yap, Tarlac Provincial Health Officer (PHO) II and President PHO of the Philippines Ricardo Ramos M.D. and ZFF Vice President Ramon Derige.

The pioneering supporters of the WAH initiative are the United States Agency for International Development, Smart Communications Inc., Qualcomm Inc., RTI International, Department of Health (DOH)-Center for Health Development Region III, DOH-National Epidemiology Center, DOH-Information Management Service, Tarlac Provincial Government through its Provincial Health Office, University of the Philippines Manila-National Telehealth Center, and Tarlac State University.