Community Health Information and Tracking System (CHITS): Lessons from Eight Years Implementation of a Pioneer Electronic Medical Record System in the Philippines

Arturo M. Ongkeko, Jr., Randy G. Fernandez, Patrick G. Sylim, Abegail Jayne P. Amoranto,
Marie-Irene Ronquillo-Sy, Abby Dariel F. Santos, Jonathan G. Fabia and
Portia H. Fernandez-Marcelo

National Telehealth Center, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila

The CHITS (Community Health Information and Tracking System), the first electronic medical record system in the Philippines that is used widely, has persevered through time and slowly extended its geographic footprint, even without a national policy. This study describes the process of CHITS development, its enabling factors and challenges affecting its adoption, and its continuing use and expansion through eight years of implementation (2004 to 2012) using the HOT-fit model. This paper used a case study approach. CHITS was developed through a collaborative and participative user-centric strategies. Increased efficiency, improved data quality, streamlined records management and improved morale among government health workers are benefits attributed to CHITS. Its longevity and expansion through peer and local policy adoption speaks of an eHealth technology built for and by the people. While computerization has been adapted by an increasing number of local governments, needs of end-users, program managers and policy-makers continue to evolve. Challenges in keeping CHITS technically robust, up-to-date and scalable are already encountered. Lack of standards hampers meaningful data exchange and use across different information systems. Infrastructure for electricity and connectivity especially in the countryside must be established more urgently to meet over-all development goals specially. Policy and operational gaps identified in this study have to be addressed using people-centric perspective and participatory strategies with the urgency to achieve universal health care. Further rigorous research studies need be done to evaluate CHITS' effects on public health program management, and on clinical outcomes.

Key Words: Electronic Medical Records; Health Information Systems; CHITS; Universal Health Care, Routine Health Information System