Press Release
April 27, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to make healthcare more efficient is an important aspect of delivering universal healthcare to Filipinos.

Angara made these statements in support of Department of Health (DOH) Sec. Enrique Ona, who listed the use of ICT as an important policy direction of the department as part of its goal to attain universal health care.

Dr. Ona made the statements during the 2nd Philippine Health Outlook Forum which was sponsored by the Zuellig Foundation. The Forum was held, "to provide the DOH with a venue to present and discuss the health agenda of the Aquino administration and how the government plans to achieve universal health care through multi-stakeholder partnerships."

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), said that the commission has been keen on developing the health care industry of the country through various projects that utilize ICT, like Telehealth, which uses tools such as SMS and video chat.

Dr. Ona is a member of the COMSTE Health panel which identified the Telehealth project as a top national priority.

The National Telehealth Project, which was initiated by the University of the Philippines, Manila National Telehealth Center (UPM-NTC), is seen as an ideal partnership between healthcare and technology, which would enable doctors to remotely diagnose patients in rural and far-flung communities.

Community Health Delivery and Health Team Placement Act

Angara recently filed a bill in the senate that will develop community health delivery and health team placement for rural area.

When passed, the bill would establish one Local Health Unit (LHU) for cities and municipalities with a population of more than 20,000, and at least one registered nurse per 5,000 people, and no less than 2 nurses for each LHU.

The bill would also provide nurse-led operations and equipment for Telemedecine for 4th and 6th class municipalities with populations of less than 5,000. These nurses would be able to remotely consult with physicians, who would also be required to conduct periodic visits to the communities.

The implementation of telehealth and telemedicine would also allow nurses in the LHU's to electronically document patients and their records. 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.

"With the proposed Community Health Delivery and Health Team Placement Act he end goal is to elevate the availability of primary health care in the Philippines and the competence of Philippine health care practitioners to unprecedented heights," said Angara.

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