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PhilHealth Joins International Collaboration on Data Dictionary Initiative November 20, 2012

THE Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) is currently collaborating with the Joint Learning Network (JLN) as part of its enterprise architecture development initiative.

The JLN is a platform for exchange between countries implementing health financing reforms aimed at achieving universal health coverage. Its mission is to accelerate progress and improve the success of demand-side financing reforms designed to improve health outcomes and financial protection for the poor.

The said platform is crucial to PhilHealth, the state-run health insurance agency which aims for universal health coverage. The JLN has hosted on April this year training on principles and operations of maintaining health data dictionaries or HDDs with 23 participants from five countries including PhilHealth. HDDs are important foundations in building sophisticated health management information systems. It also serves as a communication platform for standardized reporting and analysis among different stakeholders. Technical guidance in this area is provided by PATH (Seattle, USA) and PharmAccess (Amsterdam, Netherlands), funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

"Without a data dictionary, confusion and misinterpretations are common especially among stakeholders who may use the same terms but assign them different meanings. The HDD is one way to bring them on the same page," says PhilHealth Chief Information and Technology Executive Dr. Alvin B. Marcelo.

PhilHealth President and CEO Dr. Eduardo P. Banzon has given his full support to the said international partnership. We are grateful for the opportunities afforded us by this initiative to be both teacher and learner. We value this partnership as learning from our counterparts from other countries is important to us.

As it goes to the direction of open data, PhilHealth said it can begin with its transition toward a more inclusive National Health Insurance Program.

"We are now formulating the Bukas PhilHealth Open Data Program as a strategy to maximize use of PhilHealth data to improve universal health coverage through collaborative research,” Marcelo added, who also said that keeping open lines of communication and maintaining transparency are important to PhilHealth's new administration.

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