It has always been a dream for every health care professional in the country to make healthcare efficient – not just to be available and accessible to everyone. Our country now is slowly creating its’ progress with this, especially with the emerging use of Electronic Health Records. Although majority of the hospitals in the Philippines still don’t have this facility, as this is deemed to be very costly, our government is also creating ways in order to begin this revolution like with UP NTHC’s project which they call CHITS or Community Health Information Tracking System. The benefits of Electronic Health Record to healthcare professionals and even to patients are very promising, as this may ease every process in the hospital – aside from making everything paperless.
Taking a diabetic patient w/ a non-healing wound for example consulting to a healthcare institution that luckily uses EHR facility, all the processes and management he will go through will be collected, stored, and secured in one database. This is an excellent tool especially if patient usually consults in the same institution or hospital – in which they can just always refer to the available record they have in their own database. Making EHR like the center of the universe, the very core of the process and the care for the patient. However, in some case that the patient decides to move in to a different place and has to consult in a different institution or hospital due to accessibility – the continuity of his care and management might have to go back to square one if data will be unavailable to begin with.
This is the missing link in the healthcare scenario right now. Transfer of these necessary health data of patient is not allowed in most institution as there are no national program or law that mandates this. But, DOST and DOH has been in the works and making efforts to achieving this. Both of this department has signed a Join National Governance on eHealth, making them both the lead in attaining the vision of Philippine eHealth Strategic Framework and Plan or PeHSFP.
To achieve this vision of PeHSFP, one of the tools is Philippine Health Information Exchange – giving way to interoperability of available data among different healthcare institution to universalise approach and care. This amazing platform will give authorisation to healthcare professionals gain access to health information – demographics, health history, managements, care plans, medications or prescription, and other lab or test results. Although security might be one issue with this, I think this has been in works. This will also answer the question “Who owns the medical record?” since all the while, it really is the patient who owns it, however, it’s a challenge for most patients’ to get their medical records – as 1) in most institution it’s costly to get a printed record, 2) it takes time to get it. Through this vision and use of Philippine Health Information Exchange, it is an excellent way to digitally empower patients to take account of their own health.