Smart, QC partner on e-referral system for health care services

MANILA, Philippines – The Quezon City government and its hospitals are set to use the Secured Health Information Network and Exchange (SHINE) of Smart Communications Inc. to maximize access to health service resources and provide better care for tuberculosis (TB) patients.

Under an agreement signed with the Quezon City government, the Center for Health Development-Metro Manila, Lung Center of the Philippines, East Avenue Medical Center and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Smart will implement SHINE initially in the 10 health centers of the city’s fourth legislative district and in the three major TB catchment hospitals for the fight against TB in QC.

TB is an infectious disease caused by the “tubercle bacilli” bacteria which affect the lungs but may also attack any part of the body like the bones, intestines, and kidneys.

The World Health Organization’s Global TB Report reveals that the Philippines is ranked ninth among 22 countries highly burdened by TB around the world.

As many as 75 Filipinos die of the disease every day, making TB the sixth leading cause of death among Filipinos. In Quezon City, the disease reportedly ranks eighth among the 10 leading causes of illness.

Mayor Herbert Bautista said Quezon City’s participation in the project will enable the city government to provide better service to the residents as well as improve governance.

“Infusing the right information and communication technology tools into our city’s health care system will help us improve the services we provide, and eventually empower TB patients to recover from their illness. Our participation in this project will also help us in governance, as it can create cost-efficient measures for us to address our residents’ health issues,” Bautista said during the signing of the agreement held recently at the Quezon City Hall.

“For our community service initiatives in health, we specially looked into the United Nations Development Program Millennium Development Goals, including that of reducing infectious diseases such as TB. The beauty of this project lies in the use of appropriate Web and mobile technologies with an ecosystem of willing stakeholders to make it happen,” said Ramon Isberto, Smart Public Affairs Group head.

Project SHINE is the flagship mobile health initiative of Smart under its corporate citizenship program “Kabalikat” that aims to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of health care facilities through the innovative use of mobile and ICT technologies.

Through the SHINE platform, health care facilities are given access to an electronic information management system that accommodates the registration of patients, recording of consultations, filling out and sending of referral, acknowledgement and feedback forms, search for a health care specialist or facility, reports generation for governance, setting of appointments as well as the sending of text message notifications and reminders to the patient. All these features can be used for TB cases.

Because it is cloud-based, SHINE can be accessed by health care personnel and organizations anywhere via the Web and/or a mobile phone.

With SHINE, health care organizations can improve information exchange, enhance patient care continuity, and end the costly, time-consuming and error-prone chore of faxing, photocopying and filing paper referral documents.

The implementation of SHINE in Quezon City is part of the Linking Initiatives and Networking to Control Tuberculosis (TB LINC), a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Global Fund to improve access to comprehensive quality TB care.

The PBSP is the prime contractor of the TB LINC project and the principal recipient of the Global Fund TB Grant of the Philippines.

Under the agreement, Smart will oversee the implementation of SHINE, including the training of health workers in basic PC skills and use of the SHINE system.

Smart will also provide free Internet connection for six months as well as 20 mobile phones to front liners/provider-users in the 10 health centers of Quezon City’s fourth district.

Smart will also provide free one-year Internet connectivity to the three major TB catchment hospitals — Quezon City General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines and the East Avenue Medical Center. The use of the SHINE system is free for one year.

SHINE was launched last July with its initial implementation in Iloilo province and Iloilo City.


Published in The Philippine Star, 03 November 2011)

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