History of Nursing Informatics inthe Philippines
The Philippine nursing community have longsought to keep up with increasing use ofinformation and technology in the healthcaresystem. Nursing Informatics follows thefootsteps of biomedical informatics which hasgained relative popularity earlier than its otherallied medical counterparts. Despite being inits early stages of development thesubspecialty of nursing informatics on thePhilippines have more than decade of whichled to future programs and activities.
Some of the major milestones in nursinginformaticshistory in the Philippines which includes theparticipation of the Philippine NursesAssociation (PNA) in the development ofStandards for Health Information in thePhilippines(SHIP) in 1999, the formation ofthe Master of Science in Health Informatics(MSHI) whichbegan in 2005 and the formation of thePhilippine Nursing Informatics Association(PNIA) in 2010 as a sub-specialtyorganization of PNA for nursing informatics.
Introduction:The words "nursing informatics"were unfamiliar among the nursingcommunity until theyear 2008. There were only a handful ofpeople with knowledge and experience innursing informatics but the disciplinehave not yet found its recognition as asub-specialty of nursingarts and science in the country. Theorigin of this budding discipline indirectlycame fromthe pioneers of health informatics in the
The Philippine Medical Informatics Society(PMIS) and its founders had stronginfluence inthe development of health informatics inthe Philippines. The PMIA was officiallyregisteredunder the Securities and ExchangeCommission in 1996 by its boardcomposed of elevenphysician. The organization was headedby Dr. Alvin Marcelo.
OriginsSince 1998, several faculty members ofthe University of the Philippines beganformal education and training. Dr. HermanTolentino took a post-doctoral fellowship inmedical informatics at the University oWashington. Dr. Alvin Marcelo followed ayear later for his training at the NationalLibrary of Medicine. Dr. Cito Maramba wentto Coventry for his Masters in InformationSciences at the University of Warwick. Theywere later followed by other physicians suchas Dr. Micheal Muin and Dr. Ryan Bañez.
By the year 2003, a Master of Science inHealth Informatics was proposed to be offeredby UP-Manila College of Medicine (major inmedical informatics) and the College of Artsand Science (major in bioinformatics) and waslater approved to be offered starting academicyear 2005-2006. In 1999, a study group wasformed headed by the National Institute ofHealth of the University of the PhilippinesManila.
This group identified international standardsfor health information and their adaptabilityin the Philippines. The document is referredto as the "Standards of Health Informationin the Philippines, 1999 version" or"SHIP99".Representatives from various sectorscollaborated on this project including thePhilippine Nurses Association (PNA) in theperson of Ms. Evelyn Protacio.
CHED as a CatalystThe nursing community was still yet to follow itsinternational counterparts in the adoption of information,communication and technology in nursing practice in thePhilippines. Despite the inclusion of Informatics coursein the undergraduate curriculum which focused on basicdesktop applications, the need for genuine nursinginformatics course had not yet been realized. In 2008,Nursing Informatics course in the undergraduatecurriculum was defined by the Commission on HigherEducation (CHED) Memorandum Order 5 Series of2008. This was later revised and included as HealthInformatics course in CHED Memorandum Order 14Series of 2009. This will be first implemented in thesummer of 2010.
OrganizationEarly in 2009, Mr. Kristian R. Sumabat and Ms.Mia Alcantara-Santiago, both nurses and graduatestudents of Master of Science in Health Informaticsat the University of the Philippines, Manila begandrafting plans to create a nursing informaticsorganization. In February 2010, they began recruitingother nursing informatics specialists and practitionersto organize a group which later became as thePhilippine Nursing Informatics Association.
They were joined by founding members Ms.Sheryl Ochea, a graduate of MAster of Sciencein Nursing major in nursing informatics atXavier University (Ohio, USA), Ms. AlexrandraBernal, a graduate student and telehealthnurse of the National Telehealth Center, Ms.Pia Pelayo, a former telehealth nurse and aproject coordinator of the NationalEpidemiology Center, Department of Healthand Mr. Sid Cardenas, also a telehealth nurse.Other founding members include Mr. NoelBañez, Ms. Rona Abcede, and Mr. HarbyOngbay Abellanosa.
Issues and ChallengesLike many other disciplines, nursinginformatics face many challenges while in itsinfancy stage. The inclusion of informaticsas an integral part of the undergraduatecurriculum has been one of the mostinfluential factors for the increasedawareness and interest in this field ofnursing. However, the contents of thecurriculum was adapted from internationalmaterials which does not match the localneeds.
A community-centered approach to the useof information, communication and technologyin nursing practice must be adapted toensure the impact of the program in the localhealthcare system. Lack of certification andcredentialing programs in post-graduate levelsare also absent with the scarcity of localnursing informatics experts. This new field hasyet to gain acceptance and recognition in thenursing community as a sub-specialty.
Future DirectionDevelopment of training, certification andcredentialing programs are in the pipeline for thePhilippine Nursing Informatics Association. Futurepartnerships with local and international nursingand health informatics organizations have startedas well. Other programs are expected to be slowlydelivered with PNIAs CORE X strategic platformwhich stands for Competency, Organization,Recognition, Experience and Expertise. It is also amajor thrust to support the use of healthinformation standards in the Philippines and tohave nursing informatics specialists in everyhospital in the country.