Towards a more evidence-based decision-making on maternal and neonatal health, the World Health Organization-Philippines Country Office through its Joint Programme on Maternal and Neonatal Health (JPMNH) supported a Navotas City-wide implementation of an electronic medical record (EMR) system capable of tracking pregnant women who missed prenatal visits at the health center level.
The project, which started in September of last year, is one amongst WHO’ move to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 after reports from the 2011 WHO Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health suggests that “better information (redounds) for better (health) results”.
It uses the Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS), an EMR created by the National Telehealth Center of the University of the Philippines-Manila (NTHC-UPM). WHO bought additional desktop computers, provided Internet connectivity to run CHITS in nine of Navotas City health centers.
Unlike other CHITS-enabled health centers in the country, the project used smart phones so that nurses and midwives can collect patient data at the point of care. Through the Internet, data collected during their field visits are synchronized with data collected from the health centers. With this, data collected are more current and readily available for decision making.
Data stored can be retrieved automatically without searching through paper-based health center files. Time saved in this task is being devoted for patient care.
Navotas City Mayor Reynald Tiangco said the project, through WHO support, would narrow health inequities in their city.
Since February of this year, WHO has also supported the health information systems’ training of physicians, public health nurses, and midwives in the Navotas City Health Department to prepare them in the use of the technology.
How CHITS works?
When a mother gives birth, details of a newborn child’s BCG and first Hepatitis B vaccines are entered to CHITS. Health workers can also record if the baby was breastfed and cared for according to DOH protocol, essential newborn care.
Upon discharge from the hospital, the mother is advised that she have to visit her assigned Navotas health center within 48hours of delivery, bringing with her, the newborn. Upon their visit to the health center, their data will be recorded CHITS. When the mother fail to show up within the prescribed time, the assigned Navotas health center staff will receive an alert and trigger the needed fieldwork to check up on the mother. Once the assigned health worker ascertains the status of the mother, she/he records the mother and her child’s health status using CHITS. Data is sent immediately through SMS to a specific health center physician and the City Health Office.
The system was designed to improve three major aspects of records management:
- the quality of FHSIS reports,
- timeliness of submission, and
- ease of access of data for health center personnel.
JPMNH strongly encourages a functional health information system that ensures the production, analysis, dissemination and use of reliable and timely information. This is a key enabler to increase equitable access on reproductive health, and maternal and newborn information, goods and services in priority areas.