Press Release
September 15, 2010


The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) has identified the significance of information and communications technologies (ICT), through Telemedicine, as a vital tool in delivering basic health services to remote areas throughout the country.

A 2009 report of the United Nations Economic and Social Council's Commission on Science and Technology for Development acknowledges that ICT plays an integral role in implementing government services. Through the research of COMSTE's Health Sciences and ICT panels, Telemedicine is seen as having strategic advantages for the Philippines.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of COMSTE, said that, "telemedicine has the potential to become a game changer for the country. That is why I have set PHP 100 Million for funding from the 2009 budget for this program."

Angara said that aside from improving basic health care services and delivery to remote areas, telemedicine will create the foundation for digital medical records. By collecting data from patients all over the country, transitioning to a digital medical record system will become easier.

The collection of digital records also creates a centralized information system that can be utilized by PhilHealth. By keeping track of its members, PhilHealth can make it easier for members to get the health care they need and at the same time sustain their membership, Angara noted.

The COMSTE health panel has also seen the use of Telemedicine technology as becoming the basis for an innovative way for remote consultations and patient interfacing, which can provide the Philippines with a competitive edge in the medical tourism market.

COMSTE reports show that a large number of pregnant women go through term without receiving prenatal testing and an estimated 40% of the populace have never seen a doctor.

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