Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The SHINE Project: Shining bright for a better future in healthcare

Being in the Third World, there clearly is a lot to be said about the healthcare state in the Philippines, much more when one extends his view outside the city and into the rural areas. There, hospitals are limited and far apart, and  many can hardly be even considered hospitals at all given the limited facilities and shortage of healthcare professionals.

Such shortage is augmented by establishing local health centers, ideally in every barangay, the country's smallest administrative unit (a cluster of barangays make up a municipality or city). Even here, visits by medical professionals are scheduled and limited to say, once a week. Patient records management is left to the said local health unit, which is very, very manual. These limitations only make it more difficult for local healthcare workers to monitor patients's observance of follow-up consultations and the like, especially since Filipinos seemingly have an inherent lack of regard for regular healthcare.

The video below sums it all up, and how a little project called SHINE is starting to reshape things for the better in Iloilo City in central Philippines.

SHINE, as shown in the video, stands for Secured Health Information Network and Exchange, a web and mobile-based system that addresses the data management needs of medical and healthcare professionals. Data is stored in the cloud, so even if the health center is ravaged by flood or any other calamity, records are still intact.

SHINE allows both public and private healthcare providers and facilities to efficiently operate and communicate individual or aggregated referral and case records to the right people in a timely, accurate and interactive manner. It also enables inter-facility health e-referrals, which is cool.

Developed by telecommunications leader Smart Communications, Inc. in consultation with the Department of Health and various healthcare providers, SHINE was piloted in Iloilo in 2011. The project has also enjoyed tremendous support from the local government, thereby assuring its sustainability.

While gaining momentum as more and more parties are expressing their interest in implementing the system in their respective communities, SHINE was recently shortlisted in the 2012 GSMA Global Mobile Awards under the category for "Best Mobile Health Innovation."

Touted as the Oscars of the global communications industry, the awards ceremony will be held on February 28 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. SHINE will be up against heavyweights like AT&T, Vodacom and Etisalat in the said category.

I hope SHINE wins.

For more information, go to

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