COMSTE says Telehealth as the Phl priority for 2011-Angara

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 21 2010-Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) said that telehealth has the potential to become a game changer for the country, a top national priority for 2011.


The Senator has appropriated P100 Million for funding from the 2009 budget for the said program for improving basic health care services and delivery to remote areas, telemedicine will create the foundation for digital medical records. It will be done by collecting data from patients nationwide and it will become easy once transferred to a digital medical record system.

The collection of digital records will create a centralized information system that can be utilized by PhilHealth. PhilHealth can make it easier for members to get the health care they need and at the same time sustain the record of all members.

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Dr. Enrique Ona, COMSTE health panel said that the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) would play an important role in making the move towards achieving universal healthcare.

The National Telehealth Project was initiated by the University of the Philippines, Manila and National Telehealth Center (UPM-NTC) and is seen as an ideal partnership between healthcare and technology, which would enable doctors to remotely diagnose patients in rural and far-flung communities.


The National Telehealth Center is recognized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a Centre of Excellence for free and/or Open Source Software for ASEAN +3, and is also the home of the International Open Network ASEAN +3.

In the Phl the project has ten sites in four provinces, complete with workstations and training centers. In a 34 month period, there were 1,389 telehealth referrals from remote doctors adding that the consultations in the remote areas will include the use of SMS and MMS services, video conferencing and email referrals.


The United Nations Economic and Social Council’s Commission on Science and Technology for Development acknowledges that ICT plays an integral role in implementing government services in 2009 report. Telehealth is seen as having strategic advantages for the Philippines according to the research of COMSTE’s Health Sciences and ICT panels.

The COMSTE health panel has also seen the use of Telehealth technology as becoming the basis for an innovative way for remote consultations and patient interfacing which can provide the Philippines with a competitive edge in the medical tourism market.


A large number of pregnant women go through term without receiving prenatal testing and an estimated 40% of the populace who never seen a doctor according to COMSTE research. (Jason de Asis)