The National Telehealth Center is a “RESEARCH” project of the University of the Philippines that operates in conjunction with the DOH and the DOST. It started in 2004 and has since expanded its coverage from its original 10 sites.
The National Telehealth Center provides a system wherein rural or community based physicians can refer cases to counterpart doctors at the other end of the system and get expert opinions and advice through a web-based system. This gave primary case young doctors the support needed when medical operations are being conducted in said rural or urban communities. It is a dynamic database of medical information based on the experiences of the other physicians in the network. Currently, it is being implemented in 259 LGUs throughout the country.
Whereas in its initial phase, Telehealth was a web-based portal, little more than a chat system between doctors, it has evolved into a system where transmission of and recording of basic medical data is transmitted from one point to another. This is the RxBox.
The RxBox is the result of the cooperation between the National Telehealth Center, The DOST and UP Diliman. According to Dr. Portial Marcelo, director of the National Telehealth Center, the RxVBox can also function as a diagnostic tool since it can monitor the patient’s heart rate, pulse rate, blood and blood oxygenation. The RxBox enables remote consultations between patrients, community health workers and urban based experts
Dr. Portia Marcelo explains that the potentials for the RxBox and like systems in the Philippine healthcare system, particularly the public healthcare system has yet to reach its full utilization and that the RxBox itself which was developed by the DOST needs institutionalized funding as it is now relying solely on grants.
Source: Interview with Dr. Portia Marcelo, Director, National Telehealth Center