The improvement of the health status of their population is a major priority goal of all governments. Through the application of appropriate health technology and the use of sound management principles, health care systems aim to combat diseases, prevent premature death and disability, and improve the quality of life. However, despite considerable progress in terms of new theories and advance technology in the past decades, old problems continue to persist. In the Philippines, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases together with cardio-vascular diseases and new problems like the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), remain the major threats to the health of the population. But poverty and limited resources constrain government efforts from achieving desirable health objectives. Insufficient budget allocation for health services result in an unhealthy workforce with low productivity. Poverty also limits access to health services and quality case. The reliance on imported, sophisticated and costly technology and the low regard for traditional medicine cause further strain on limited resources.
Health professionals and practitioners involved in the health delivery systems find their efforts frustrated by the socio-economic and politico-administrative conditions in the environment. In the Philippines, the devolution of the health function to the local government units has decentralized the health policy process. At this point, more and more health specialists are beginning to realize the need for a broader understanding of the social context within which they operate. Health technology alone is not sufficient to address these multifarious concerns. These issues are best tackled at the level of policy. Health policy is concerned with the allocation of scarce resources, the structures and processes of governance which allocate these resources, and the tradition and culture of the people who are the ultimate beneficiaries of health care.
The contribution of sound policies in the pursuit of better health is well recognized. For this reason, a number of countries like Great Britain, the United States, and Thailand have instituted research and academic programs on health policy. They recognize the need for leaders and managers in health to be supported by appropriate management skills and research-based knowledge to arrive at rational decision making.
The Master of Management (MM) degree program currently being offered has three areas of competencies: Public Administration, Business Management, and Educational Management. Approved during the 1131st meeting of the U.P. Board of Regents held on 27 May 1999, the MM serves as an umbrella program to highlight the varied specialism of the faculty of the Department of Social Sciences.
Health informatics covers the organization and management of information in the areas of patient care, research and administration. It focuses on the structuring of health data and knowledge to support data analysis and decision making in medicine and health care with the use of information systems. It covers a wide spectrum of applications, from computer-based patient records in general practices and hospitals to electronic communication between health care providers, from signal analysis and image processing to decision support systems. Effective delivery of health care requires correct decision making on proper management of health information.
The MSHI program has two tracks: bioinformatics(handled by the Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics) and medical informatics (handled by Medical Informatics Unit).
The program is designed to endow prospective leaders in health informatics with solid competencies in health informatics such that the at the end of the program, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate the application of informatics concepts, skills and principles for the efficient solution of health informatics problems;
- introduce perspectives in health informatics that can be used in the critical study of all levels of health information systems;
- plan, undertake, evaluate, and monitor health informatics research projects; and
- deliver technical services to health professionals and agencies for both public and private sectors concerned with management of information which could be the bases for health policy formulation, thereby providing leadership and excellence in health informatics