The Progress of EMRs in the Philippine Healthcare Industry

Published on by Xenia Labis

Of course, as mentioned in the history of Electronic Medical Records, EMRs began in the 60s outside the country. Dr. Lawrence Weed is credited with conceptualizing electronic records for the medical field. However, the Regenstrief Institute created the very first EMR! Of course, it’s been several decades since then. So naturally, technology has progressed significantly. As providers refine their EMR Systems, so does the Philippine Healthcare Industry. Unfortunately, EMRs in the Philippines are not so widespread. This is mainly due to issues with cost and adjusting to the digitized system. Still, the healthcare industry has made strides over the years! So, here’s a timeline of significant events regarding EMRs in the country. Check it out:

A journey of EMRs through the country’s Healthcare Industry


Dr. Marie Irene Sy presented info about EMRs at a research forum at the University of the Philippines. At the time, Dr. Sy was the National Project Manager for the Community Health Information Tracking System (CHITS). So on June 14, 2012, she revealed the results of a study on record retrievals. 

The study, which was based in Quezon City, found that, by using the CHITS, the time for retrieving medical records “decreased from 2.41 minutes to less than 5 seconds.” Other advantages include boosted efficiency of the healthcare staff. In addition, the study cited streamlined data management and informed decision-making as additional benefits. Such results line up with the benefits of Electronic Medical Records Systems!

EMRs in the Philippines


In 2016, the Department of Health released a joint statement with Philhealth about implementing the National eHealth Electronic Medical Record. Such an action would assist the National Health Data Reporting Requirements!

In addition, PhilHealth released Advisory No. 2016-0040. According to the advisory, EMRs were to be implemented for Primary Care Benefits providers in the Philippines by December 31, 2016. The EMR systems, which passed the joint DOH and PhilHealth validation, replaced the Updated Primary Care Module (UPCM).

At the time, the Department of Health and PhilHealth validated only six systems. One of those systems was developed by the DOH. Also, the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila developed their own systems. The rest came from other institutions. (Of course, there are far more validated EMR systems today!)

EMRs in the Philippines


EMRs keep track of a doctor’s schedule, especially if a doctor from the Philippines works with more than one institution in a single day! However, Health Engine is aimed at hospitals. It’s a shift considering EMRs tend to rather than smaller-scale practices, such as clinics. It was introduced on November 13, 2017.

2019 to Present

Although EMRs have usage challenges, positive sentiments have continued in recent years. For example, Arturo de la Peña, the President of St. Luke’s Medical Center, stated that digitization is vital to the “success of the Universal Health Care (UHC) Law implementation.”

Also, with the new normal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, EMRs are more useful than ever. Firstly, having digital records rather eliminates the need to pass physical forms. In addition, pulling records within a handful of seconds ensures that no time is wasted. So, informed decision-making and patient diagnoses occur within a shorter time span. Also, medications won’t conflict. In addition, the system accounts for illnesses and allergies.

EMRs in the Philippines

EMRs are not just for handling Coronavirus patients. In general, they also ensure that better healthcare arrives in time.

EMRs bring about progress in the Philippines’ Healthcare Industry!

We’ve come a long way since the 60s and 70s. Yet, EMRs are far from complete integration into the country’s healthcare system. However, they’re still significant and help the institutions that employ them.

However, there’s no doubt that EMRs assist the Healthcare system. So with an Electronic Medical Records System, patient information is accessible, shareable and regularly updated. As a result, EMR Systems significantly boost a medical institution’s productivity. So, Electronic Medical Records in the Philippines already account for the needs of the Philippine public. But as time goes on, so will progress!