May 27, 2012
ICT HELPS PROVIDE WIDER, CHEAPER ACCESS
Senator Edgardo J. Angara expressed his support for the expansion of Wireless Access to Health (WAH) in Tarlac province which uses information and communication technology (ICT) in improving healthcare using 3G technology.
Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), lauded the Tarlac Provincial Health Office and the Department of Health (DOH) for successfully implementing the WAH and adding Mobile Midwife and SPASMS (Synchronized Patient Alert via SMS) applications.
"Scaling up WAH can help ensure quality, affordable and accessible healthcare in the Philippines. I hope that these projects will all be successful," Angara said.
The WAH is a collaborated public-private partnership established to modernize the access of health workers and doctors to accurate and updated patient information by using 3G wireless technology. It also strengthens the current Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS) which is an electronic medical record system developed by the University of the Philippines Manila.
Mobile Midwife enables patient data to be captured and updated electronically to the CHITS system during patient visits via smart phones, tablets or laptop while SPASMS is an alert and health promotion system which sends patient information on prenatal care and child immunization.
These programs address problems in inequities in access, cost, inefficiency and maldistribution of healthcare providers and public health systems managers in far-flung communities. They also aim to be standard tools in the health arena.
"This is another reason why we should all support ICT-enabled initiatives. Such a program, if successful, must be replicated across the country. It will boost our efforts to widen access to quality healthcare facilities even though we cannot yet build the necessary physical infrastructure or hire medical personnel," said Angara, also chair of Senate Committee for Science and Technology.
"ICT is an enabler in many ways. We should maximize its utility especially in delivering social services," added Angara, author and sponsor of the Data Privacy Prevention Act, Cybercrime Prevention Act and the bill institutionalizing the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
He added that a similar telehealth system is being pioneered by the provincial government of Aurora, his home province, with the help of the National Telehealth Center at UP Manila. "Aurora and Tarlac are pioneers and models of telehealth for other LGU's."
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