House panel OKs bill creating national e-health system

THE House Committee on Health has approved a measure establishing the National eHealth System and Services to improve health services at  a very affordable price.

The eHealth Service will be delivered through cost-effective and secure information and communication technology (ICT).

Among the principal author of the National eHealth System and Services Act were Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, Manila Reps. John Marvin Nieto and Edward Maceda.

The bill provides for an organized and structured application of electronic health or “eHealth” integrated in the regular workflow of healthcare facilities.

Specifically, it seeks to utilize ICT to deliver health services which has the potential to be profitable, improve quality, change the conditions of practice, and improve access to healthcare, especially in rural and other medically underserved areas.

The bill also aims to facilitate the exchange and access to secured personal health information, ensure harmonization or integration, alignment, and interoperability among various eHealth initiatives, and facilitate inter-agency and inter-sectoral coordination at various levels of governance in both public and private sectors.
The measure mandates the Department of Health (DoH) as the lead agency to implement the Act and  provides for the creation of an inter-agency and multi-sectoral National eHealth Steering Committee to serve as an executive body of the Philippine eHealth System and Services (PNeHSS).

Among the changes approved and introduced in the substitute bill is the provision for public-private partnership of eHealth Services. The bill mandates the DOH to promulgate the rules regarding the participation of the private sector in the provision of eHealth services and solutions, including public-private partnerships and other suitable arrangements.

Meanwhile, Health  Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag expressed the DoH support to the measure.