|National eHealth Governance
Like healthcare provision, implementing a National eHealth Program (NeHP) requires multi-agency partnership and multi-stakeholder collaborative efforts. Based on the World Health Organization International Telecommunication Union (WHO-ITU) eHealth Strategic Toolkit, one critical component towards a sound and successful NeHP is leadership and governance. This component proposes a high-level steering committee, a small but dedicated strategy team advised by various expert groups and engaging a broad stakeholder environment.
Similarly, the Medium-Term Information and Communications Technology Harmonization Initiative (MITHI), the governance structure for the Philippine eGovernment Master Plan (eGMP) that aims to harmonize and ensure interoperability among ICT-related resources, programs, and projects across the national government, supports this type of structure. MITHI was established through a Joint Memorandum Circular 2012-001 of the Department of Budget and Management, National Economic Development Authority and Department of Science and Technology, with an interagency Steering Committee and cluster committees in priority sectors. One of these cluster committees is the MITHI Health Cluster or eHealth Cluster.
Guided by the eGMP and the WHO-ITU eHealth Strategy, the Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, together with the University of the Philippines Manila and Commission on Higher Education, have formally bind and committed themselves to establish and implement the National eHealth Program. The interagency collaboration, convergence and commitment was initially embodied in the Joint DOH-DOST Department Memorandum No. 2013-0200 on the Creation of a Joint DOH-DOST National Governance Steering Committee and Technical Working Group on eHealth, which later also became the default MITHI Health Committee or eHealth Cluster, and later reconstituted in April 2015 through Joint DOH-DOST DM No. 2015-0097 and 2015-0098, respectively.
Among the initial expert groups created were the National Health Data Standards Expert Group and the National Health Data Privacy Expert Groups through Joint DOH-DOST DM 2014-0161, and later reconstituted in October 2014 through DM 2014-0161a.
As works on eHealth progressed, various expert groups and teams were created informally through the TWG. These groups and teams were constituted to provide direction and tactical inputs to the NeHSC and TWG on specific NeHP subject matter area/coverage from expert resources from participating agencies and program offices, private partners, academe and stakeholder organizations. These have been necessary as experience showed that it requires strategic and integrated action to make the best use of existing capacities among partner agencies and professionals, while providing a concrete foundation for investment and innovation, establishing the core directions, and planning the detailed steps needed to attain the short and long term goals for eHealth efficiency, reform, transformation and harmonization. The creation and reconstitution of the experts groups and teams was formally forged through the issuance of Joint DOH-DOST-PhilHealth DM 2015-0402.