To Improve Health Outcomes, Patient Safety: Lawmaker pushes for secure patient information sharing

House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan (Facebook)

House of Representatives Minority Leader Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan is advocating for the national government to create a secure patient information sharing system to improve health outcomes.

“There’s no question that a patient information sharing system among healthcare providers can lead to faster diagnosis and treatment, especially in emergency cases, and lessen the hazard of life-threatening medical errors,” Libanan said.

“We urge the Department of Health to start putting up the system, along with adequate privacy safeguards,” Libanan, a 4Ps party-list representative, said in a statement on Sunday.

Though a lawyer by profession, Libanan also holds a bachelor’s degree in medical technology, which involves the study of science applications to diagnose, treat, and prevent health problems.

“We are now living in a world of greater people mobility. Individuals can have a sudden medical emergency anywhere, and yet their digital or physical medical records are somewhere else,” Libanan pointed out.

He added: “Anybody can have a heart attack or figure in a road crash at any time, and get rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment. Medical practitioners at that hospital should be able to quickly access that individual’s health history through a system.”

Libanan allayed fears of potential data privacy violations, saying the law already allows the processing of restricted personal details for medical action.

He cited Chapter 3, Section 13 (e) of the Data Privacy Law of 2012, or Republic Act No. 10173.

The specific provision stipulates that sensitive personal information may be processed when necessary for purposes of medical treatment, and when carried out by a medical practitioner or a medical treatment institution.

“The law merely underscores the need for the privileged information to be effectively protected at all times against unwanted privacy intrusions,” Libanan said.

All told, Libanan said a patient information sharing mechanism “can bring about a very efficient and highly responsive healthcare system for all.”

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