Navotas, UP to automate health centers

Navotas City, Philippines — The City Government of Navotas spearheaded by Mayor John Reynald M. Tiangco will sign a Php 2.8M Computerized Health Information System Project with the University of the Philippines Manila National Telehealth Center (UPM NTHC) to explore the potentials of UP’s electronic medical record system for government health centers using Smartphones.

Dubbed as the Navotas City Health Project, the partnership between Navotas City and UP will be sealed with a ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on September 5. UPM NTHC Director Portia Grace Fernandez-Marcelo will hand over a BlackBerry Smartphone to Navotas Acting City Health Officer, Dr. Liberty C. Domingo as a “ceremonial transfer of technology.”

The Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS), the Philippines’ first ever Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system for rural health units developed by the UP Manila National Telehealth Center (NTHC) will be the platform of the city’s Health Project. Distinct from other CHITS-enabled health centers, the city will maximize the potentials of mobile technology. Given this innovation, Navotas, famous for being the fishing capital of the Philippines will be pioneering the implementation of an electronic medical record system through a mobile phone.

mobile CHITS or mCHITS will enable midwives to collect patient data at the point of care. Data collected during field visits will be merged with data originated from health centers. This technology could be made possible through the use of the Internet.

“mCHITS would provide me with information I need to address immediate health concerns of my people, adequately plan for the prevention of future ailments and sicknesses, and prepare for the first Navotas City Hospital I plan to build within my term,” pronounces Mayor Tiangco. As of last year, the city of Navotas has been planning to build a district hospital so that Navoteños would not have to go to Valenzuela General Hospital in Valenzuela City, Tondo General Hospital, Metropolitan Medical Center, and Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in the City of Manila to seek medical attention.The project will commence this September and will benefit over 245,000 Navoteños.

“This is the legacy that I wanted to share to all the men and women of Navotas City Health Department. Ever since, it has been my dream to computerize the health centers,” says Dr. Domingo. The Acting City Health Officer has been doing the groundwork for CHITS negotiation with UPM NTHC in the past six months.

UPM NTHC Project Manager for CHITS-Navotas and eHealth nurse Arturo M. Ongkeko Jr. says that mCHITS will increase time of health personnel delivering health care services to their patients. Since nurses and midwives will input data electronically, less time will be spent in accomplishing reports required by the Department of Health’s Field Health Service Information System (FHSIS). Data stored can be retrieved automatically without the difficulty of searching through hundreds of health center files and folders.

Last July, the city government has alredy purchased 22 BlackBerry Smartphones to be used by midwives during their house-to-house visits.

“I am looking forward to improve the efficiency of the health center staff, especially in terms of records management. The manual-paper based approach is such a waste of time. They could have rendered health care services to more patients.” added Dr. Domingo. With the mCHITS innovation, time saved for doing reports will translate to more time and attention to patients at the health center.

CHITS will be installed in nine health centers and one lying-in clinic of the city. One hundered (100) health personnel consisting of physicians, public health nurses, and midwives will undergo intensive health information system training that will empower them to use the system and strengthen their critical role as data managers.

By the year 2012, the city envisions that through CHITS, better health care delivery will be available to all Navoteños.


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