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Philippine Health IT Trends to watch this 2016

The Philippine healthcare system has been experiencing astonishing growth since 2010. The budget of the Department of Health (DOH) has increased significantly and that government tertiary hospitals have expanded its bed capacity but the acquisition of new equipment, upgraded laboratories and diversified its offered services. The private hospitals have also benefited from the Philhealth universal coverage, thus its revenues have also considerably increased during the past few years.

This resurgence in the financial resources of the Philippine healthcare industry also resulted in investments in new systems and processes designed to streamline operations, enhance efficiency and the long awaited inter-operability between healthcare providers and stakeholders.

In this regard, technology is considered the main thrust of the industry and that several technological indicators have been already initiated and will bear monitoring this 2016.

1.    Adoption of EMR/EHR. The development and implementation of institutional EMR continues within many healthcare providers in the country. This is not only for the benefit of the implementing institution but also as the foundation of future interconnection that will convey data and information to other healthcare institutions using a common protocol in the process.

2.    Mobile Health Apps. This app system found in smartphones and tablets will compose the bulk of health IT related input generators for the EMR/EHR systems nationwide. This will enable these EMR systems to monitor enrolled customers and patients into their records/databases and will also provide basic vital signs of these customers/patients in realtime. Records keeping and monitoring can be done more efficiently.

3.    Health Information Systems (HIS). These systems will eventually supplement the current paper based records systems in healthcare institutions. Although paper-based systems are not projected to be dispensed fully, these systems will be of significant impact to operations and administrative functions, the other objective is to have clinical applications for these systems.

4.    Health Information Exchange. The interoperability and seamless exchange of information between healthcare institutions, providers and all other stakeholders will be crucial in the next level of evolution of  the Philippine Healthcare industry.

5.    Cloud based Systems. Apps and systems can also be stored in cloud based systems. This will initially not be the primary storage used since connectivity challenges are still prevalent in the country but is a proven and reliable back-up storage facility.

6.    Big Data and Analytics. The utilization of Big Data for needed analysis is also forthcoming and is already being implemented in various industries locally. This will also be used in clinical analysis as what is the current trend in the US, Japan and South Korea.

All these considered will prove crucial in the advancement of the Philippine Healthcare industry for 2016 and beyond.   

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