A few years ago, workers at the Samboan rural health unit (RHU) in Cebu had to file and search for patient records manually. The practice was time-consuming, especially for patients who had to wait for their files to be retrieved before seeing a doctor. It also posed a risk of paper records being damaged during disasters, and of handwriting being misread.

Now, the Samboan RHU and selected public health facilities in Cebu, Iloilo, and Quezon City can retrieve files with a few clicks on a laptop, and can thus serve more patients. They can also refer patients to better-equipped health facilities electronically, and remind patients of appointments and medication via SMS. Furthermore, they can submit relevant patient information to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for faster processing of claims and health statistics.

All this and more are made possible by SHINE OS+ (Secured Health Information Network and Exchange), an electronic medical record and referral system run by Smart Communications and the Ateneo Java Wireless Competency Center.

Launched in 2011, SHINE OS+ is now being used by a network of 86 RHUs, 44 private hospitals, and 32 public hospitals. It primarily targets RHUs, which use the system for free, as these are mostly situated hours away from tertiary hospitals, which have specialists and more advanced equipment. Paid plug-ins and extensions are also available to private clinics and hospitals.

Recognized here and abroad

SHINE OS+ has been recognized by three local and international awards programs this year alone. It won a Silver Anvil at the Anvil Awards, given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines; and a Merit Award at the Philippine Quill Awards, organized by the International Association of Business Communicators-Philippines.

More recently, SHINE OS+ was announced as winner in the healthcare category of the Golden World Awards, organized by the International Public Relations Association.

“SHINE OS+ revolutionized how patient health information can be recorded, retrieved, reported to various health agencies, and used for e-referrals to higher health institutions. With just a click of a button, one can search which patients have particular conditions, or check disease burden. Samboan, a town about four hours away from Cebu City, can now send advanced notice to hospitals and other SHINE OS+ users that patients are coming their way,” said Dr. Ianne Jireh Cañizares of Samboan RHU.

Atty. Maria Jane Paredes, Smart public affairs center head, said the digitization of health records could also help policy makers develop more appropriate health programs.

“Because health information is more organized and can be accessed faster, authorities can identify the most common cases in a particular area and can craft health programs accordingly,” she said.

Continuous improvements

Being an open-source platform, SHINE OS+ allows developers from anywhere in the country and the world to create additional features that can fill more gaps in the health sector. It does this while keeping patient records private.

Among the relatively new features created are an electronic prescription module, a disease-tracking and monitoring plug-in, an offline version of the program for those with limited internet access, and Android and iOS+ apps for use of health workers on the field.

Health facilities interested in using SHINE OS+ may send an email to inquiry@shine.ph. (Press release)