LAWMAKERS has introduced a bill that would ban the use of online payments by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., among others. (PhilHealth) prescribes.
Davao City Assemblyman Paolo Z. Duterte, Benguet Assemblyman Eric G. Yap, and ACT-CIS party list Assemblymen Edvic G. Yap and Jeffrey Soriano have filed House Bill (HB) 4808, the aims to establish a digital-based system designed to complement and enhance the delivery of physical health services.
Duterte said Emmanuel R. Ledesma Jr., PhilHealth’s newly appointed acting president and CEO, can begin to expand the application of digital solutions in the health insurer’s operations by encouraging the use of more convenient online payment platforms such as e-wallets for billing made possible by PhilHealth Awards.
Making bonus payments easy and convenient will encourage members, particularly those who choose to pay voluntarily, to continue contributing to the PhilHealth fund, Duterte said.
Duterte also suggested that Ledesma should expand the implementation of PhilHealth’s eKonsulta system, a web-based standalone application that can be used to encrypt patient data and medical records. This can help harmonize patient health records and ensure accurate and meaningful medical histories are used in diagnosis.
The eKonsulta can be integrated into the planned National eHealth System (NeHS) under HB 4808, which also covers the use of e-prescriptions, e-pharmacies and telemedicine, said Duterte.
DUTERTE said the NeHS recognizes the use of digital solutions as complementary and complementary to other traditional methods of healthcare to the extent permitted by law, particularly to support primary healthcare needs and services in GIDAs.
He pointed out that telemedicine, or online medical consultations, has now become widespread in other countries such as China and Singapore, allowing patients to easily book appointments over the internet without having to wait hours in doctor’s offices.
In the Philippines, the use of telemedicine boomed during the pandemic as on-site health service delivery was curtailed.
An important aspect of the NeHS is that it operates under a health sector approach that ensures health and health-related data is available and accessible anytime, anywhere to various stakeholders, including medical experts and researchers who monitor outbreaks and help prevent the spread of the disease Can contribute to spread of disease, Duterte said.
The Department of Health (DOH) and PhilHealth, in partnership with the private sector, are the key players in implementing the NeHS.
As the lead implementing body, the DOH is mandated to transform and strengthen its existing Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service (KMITS) into a fully-fledged National Office for eHealth Information and Services (NeHISB). This body is responsible for the overall management and administration of the NeHS.
It will also serve as the secretariat of the DOH-led eHealth Policy and Coordinating Council, tasked under the bill with providing and promoting relevant policies and guidelines for the effective implementation of the NeHS.
Duterte said using digital technology to support healthcare delivery can help identify symptoms in patients in the early stages of their condition and save lives.
“We need to rethink the way we provide quality health care to our countrymen, especially those living in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas where medical workers are in short supply,” Duterte said.