The Hound of the Wolf

For the strength of Pack is in the Wolf, and the strength of Wolf is in the Pack -Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reflections on the Tarlac Visit for CHITS Implementation

Venue: Near the Flag Pole, PGH
Time: July 15, 7AM

Raymond, Xands, Kat and I were fetched by a van bound for Tarlac State University that morning. A typhoon just came out of the Philippines and another one is about to come in but we were lucky enough that the weather is cooperating. An hour later, we are in Trinoma Mall to fetch Dr. Marcelo. We were on a "semi" convoy together with Mr. Duremdes, Nick, Val and Enzo from Smart Communications. Smooth travel, nice, green and relaxing ambiance on the way to TSU.

Time: 10:30 AM
Venue: Graduate Office Conference Room, TSU

The morning started with a brief introduction among the members of the different stakeholders. Present in the session are people from the Tarlac Provincial Health Office (led by Dr. Ric Ramos), Tarlac State University (led by its president, Dr. Viuya), Smart Communications with Mr. Mon Duremdes and the UPM-National Telehealth Center (led by Dr. Alvin Marcelo). I must say that those that are present are the key people to make this project happened. The general meeting of stakeholders is both relevant and appropriate on the context that expectations are set and reconciled, and roles being identified accordingly. TSU's president, Dr. Viuya has mentioned how excited they are with the project and the collborations that comes with it during at brief introduction. Our colleague from MIT, Ms. Katherine Kuan, presented TSU with a Maxtor hard disk drive containing MIT's opencourse wares.
The presentation was facilitated by Dr. Alvin Marcelo. He discussed an introduction to CHITS, what the project is all about, how will the different stakeholders will going to contribute with it and the future opportunitie that comes with its successful implementation. TSU is being pinpointed and projected as a regional training center for CHITS in the near future. Judging from the reaction from the TSU group, I can say that they welcome the "challenge" and are very much opened to be trained.

During the discusion, Dr. Ramos made inquiries about information sharing of different health facilities including real-time inventory of medical supplies and drugs. That's a full blast EMR with ERP capabilities! His vision is well-rounded considering that aside from local health centers, there also other major players that participated in the Philippine health information system. I was seated next to Ms. Pinky, who is Tarlac PHO's FHSIS coordinator. She is the local expert on FHSIS and will definitely be a big help in terms of making sure that the protocols both data entry and reporting in FHSIS are properly being implemented.
I was able to talked to the PHO and CHD-3 group about what they are doing to effectively manage the bulky information they are receiving from various sources. While they do have applications and softwares at PHO, I must say that most of which are just for the purpose of consolidating paper reports at the ground level. Still, the quality of data isn't assured since the sources at the grassroots level is prone to many forms of errors. The idea of making CHITS (system on the ground) be made interoperable with their applications at the PHO (systems on the higher levels) comes into picture. Challenging killer application but definitely worth doing. It will not just save unnecessary effort and time but lots of trees as well. (we're talking here of a "paperless" automated system right?!)
Dr. Marcelo was able to thresh out and clearly identify the roles that each stakeholder will have to play. Smart is very crucial in terms of network infrastructure, SMS gateway supports and marketing (hehe). While they do have probably some agenda on the side, their support and is very relevant. Then, lunch time came!
Next: Visit to the Tarlac Provincial Hospital and a health center ... to be continued.