Assessing the Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information in the Philippines: Informing the Philippine Compliance to the Expanded Trade of Healthcare Services in ASEAN

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The expanded use of electronic health records is expected to happen as ASEAN moves towards a single market for healthcare services. Experiences in other sectors, particularly the banking industry, show that as soon as the electronic exchange of information took off, the banking market opened up with freer flow of services. Faced with the same situation, the healthcare sector must act now and adopt rules on the privacy and security of electronic health information. Not only would this address the need to maintain the physician-patient privilege, which has long been an established principle that governs health services information; but it would also help overcome persistent resistance of several stakeholders in healthcare to shift to electronically stored and transmitted health information. The resistance can be partly attributed to the fear that the electronic medium could compromise physician-patient privilege and that personally identifiable health information will be used against the physicians and the patients. This study hopes to address these concerns by determining the current regime on the privacy and security of electronic health information in the country and the measures that may improve this regime.