Varied patient and other health-related data are collected in rural health units (RHU) on a daily basis all over the country using a variety of manual, paper-based methods which are often prone to error, destruction and alteration. Due to the expanse of these data, RHU’s are often rendered data cemeteries. Consolidation and analysis of these disorganized data to produce information important to decision makers is also often impossible. Current techniques are tedious and time-consuming and, hence, produce information which is stale and irrelevant. These realities mark public health in the Philippines. The country’s geography and lack of resources compound the problem of data collection and use on the ground. This poor information management system prevents the development of well-planned and targeted strategies to combat the Philippines’ health problems, to reduce inequity in health care access and improve the overall health of Filipinos, especially those who live in the poorest and farthest communities.
The Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS) is an electronic medical record system developed by the NTHC to improve health information management at the RHU level. It was developed alongside health workers and features a workflow much akin to what is employed in local health centers nationwide. It is also built to gather data and generate reports which health workers need and decision makers require. CHITS is made up of several components which are envisioned to lead to the collection and delivery of good quality data. CHITS is primarily a capacity-building program which instils relevant health information systems components among health workers. By using free and open source software, CHITS makes itself flexible and compliant to the needs of RHU’s and local health centers as well as the DOH. Once installed, CHITS becomes a platform for the facility to explore other eHealth applications such as telemedicine and eLearning. CHITS also aims to enable the NTHC to share its resources and services to partner local government units (LGU’s) to increase their efficiency in caring for their constituents through more informed decision-making. The availability of ICT, such as computers and tablets, also automate tasks involved in data collection and analysis, minimizing data loss, protecting records from destruction and facilitating better access to health center data.