University of Philippines Manila

Pioneering Telemedicine and Digital Health Solutions in the Philippines

The UP Manila National Telehealth Center (NTHC) marked its 25th founding anniversary with a special celebration of its milestones and successes in advancing digital health and telemedicine in the Philippines. The event, held on 28 September 2023, brought together key figures and experts in the field to reflect on the center’s achievements and chart the course for the future of healthcare in the Philippines.

UP Pres. Angelo A. Jimenez emphasized the importance of the NTHC’s mission in his opening remarks. He called to support Telehealth’s goal of leveraging digital technology to enhance healthcare services for the people of the Philippines.

“We celebrate not only our achievements, but the dedication of all those who have contributed to this remarkable journey, and we express our deepest gratitude to our partners and stakeholders and the Filipino people for their unwavering support as we go forward to the next 25 years,” asserted NTHC Director Raymond Francis Sarmiento.

The NTHC pioneered the development of an open-source electronic medical record known as the Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS). This prototype device facilitated the transmission of clinical data to medical specialists, and has evolved into the RxBox. The RxBox is a revolutionary biomedical device capable of measuring vital signs and transmitting data through the internet and GSM network connecting remote islands and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas of the Philippines with medical specialists at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NTHC responded by developing an open-source web-based application known as UP Manila BESTS for tracking the health status of employees and identifying potential hotspots, contributing crucial evidence for crafting guidelines and policies within the UP Manila.
“We worked with the National Telehealth Center so that we

can make sure that Filipinos under lockdown will still be able to access medical services. With the National Telehealth Center, we are sure that we are in the right journey towards making sure that innovation, technology, and creativity become part of our treasures that we are going to leave behind,” said Department of Health Undersecretary Enrique A. Tayag.
DOST Secretary Renato Solidum, Jr. highlighted DOST- funded projects with the NTHC, including the production of 1,000 Rx boxes. The CHITS initiative was instrumental in launching the first telemedicine spinoff, Pivotal Peak Digital Health Solutions Inc., offering a comprehensive platform for CHITS EMRS, real-time telemedicine referrals, and professional development mentoring. The DOST PCHRD support extends to developing an electronic healthcare system for X-linked Dystonia-Parkinsonism, a rare neural condition in males with maternal roots in Panay, Philippines.

“As we move forward beyond 25 years, let us continue to find new and innovative ways to be more responsive to developing health needs, starting with the UHC. Let us continue to meld the latest technological advancements in healthcare, the newest results of research, and the elements of the changing world, all towards the end goal of maximizing widely available and cost-effective ICT tools to improve healthcare delivery for everyone,” asserted Dr. Carmencita Padilla, National Scientist and UP Manila chancellor.

(Charmaine Lingdas)

fb twitter