The Bataan General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) Healthcare Provider Network (HCPN) Online Referral System stands as an example of healthcare innovation and leadership. BGHMC, a tertiary hospital, encountered significant challenges related to inefficient patient referrals and resource allocation, leading to overcrowding and delayed care. To address these issues, BGHMC introduced an Online Referral System within a broader Service Delivery Network (SDN). This system improved patient referrals, optimized resource distribution, and mitigated patient bypassing, thereby enhancing healthcare productivity and service quality.


BGHMC faced productivity challenges characterized by inefficient allocation of healthcare resources and patient congestion. As a tertiary hospital, it struggled with an influx of primary cases, compromising its capacity to provide specialized tertiary-level care. A disorganized referral process allowed patients to bypass primary care facilities, such as Rural Health Units (RHUs), and seek care directly at BGHMC, exacerbating congestion, resource wastage, delayed care, and patient dissatisfaction.


The BGHMC-HCPN Online Referral System addresses the challenges of inefficient resource allocation and congestion by introducing several innovative features:

Streamlined Referral Process: The HCPN Online Referral System streamlines the patient referral process through a two-way mechanism. This process empowers primary healthcare facilities to act as gatekeepers, ensuring that patients receive care appropriate to their needs. This prevents bypassing of primary care facilities and optimizes resource allocation.

The Streamlined Referral reflected in the SDN Process Flow

Data-Driven Decision-Making: The system incorporates data collection and analysis, providing valuable insights into patient demographics, case distribution, and referral patterns through the bed tracker and medicine inventory. This data-driven approach allows healthcare providers to make informed decisions about resource allocation and identify areas for improvement.

Features such as the Medicine Inventory and Bed Tracker provide Data-Driven Decision Making

Improved Connectivity: Addressing connectivity challenges, BGHMC donated desktop computers to RHUs, ensuring efficient system access in areas with limited connectivity.

Patient Empowerment: Patients are actively involved in the referral process by receiving access codes. This feature enhances patient understanding of their healthcare journey and ensures smooth transitions between healthcare levels.

Integration of Health Records: Electronic Medical Records (EMR) organize patient data, fostering better communication between healthcare providers, reducing paperwork, and eliminating data entry redundancy.

Since the EMR is web-based, patients’ records can be viewed by physicians using any mobile device as long as it is connected to the internet, ensuring data privacy.

Telemedicine and Teleconsultations: Telemedicine was leveraged, especially during the pandemic, enabling remote medical consultations, reducing physical visits, and decongesting hospital facilities.

Steps on how to use, register, and avail of the BGHMC Telemedicine

The BGHMC HCPN Online Referral System offers a comprehensive approach to addressing congestion and inefficient resource allocation in the healthcare sector. It leverages technology, data-driven decision-making, patient empowerment, and a commitment to good governance to optimize healthcare productivity and improve patient care quality.

Productivity Gains, Outcomes, and Impact

The BGHMC-HCPN Online Referral System has produced significant measurable productivity gains and outcomes, leading to enhanced hospital performance and superior patient care.

Before the HCPN system, BGHMC was congested with primary cases that could have been handled at lower-level facilities. As interviews with BGHMC Medical Center Chief Dr. Glory Baltazar and Mariveles District Hospital Chief Dr. Hector T. Santos revealed, the system’s gatekeeping mechanism has significantly reduced this congestion. The hospital now caters to 90% of tertiary cases, up from 13% before the implementation of the program, thereby improving resource utilization and patient care.

The system’s data-driven approach allows BGHMC to allocate resources more efficiently. Dr. Romeo Tuazon, Chairperson of the Office of Strategy Management, emphasized the importance of coordinating with offices and streamlining referral systems. This efficiency results in reduced patient waiting times and improved services. The HCPN Online Referral System has expanded access to healthcare services. Patients can now identify where to seek care as the system guides them to the appropriate level of healthcare. This was confirmed in interviews with Dr. Bhen Bautista and Violeta S. Sebastian, among others, from rural health units and health stations.

The introduction of telemedicine, highlighted by Mariveles District Hospital Chief Dr. Hector T. Santos, has played a crucial role during the pandemic. Patients can access consultations remotely, reducing the need for physical visits. This not only improves patient safety but also helps decongest hospital facilities.

In addition, the system’s data collection and analysis have empowered BGHMC to make data-driven decisions. This information is essential for resource planning and allocation. An interview with BGHMC Professional Education, Training and Research Office Secretariat Ria-ann Dizon emphasized the importance of data protection and research studies to improve the system continuously.

The system empowers patients to understand their healthcare journey by involving them in the referral process. Dr. Gerard B. Sebastian, Mariveles Municipal Health Officer, mentioned educating patients about their health-seeking behavior, which leads to better-informed choices. Adopting the PGS, as mentioned by Dr. Romeo Tuazon, ensures that the system aligns with organizational goals. It allows for continuous monitoring and evaluation, crucial for productivity gains.

Lessons Learned and Challenges in Implementing the Intervention

The implementation of the BGHMC HCPN Online Referral System met several challenges, including initial resistance to the new system and internet connectivity issues, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive training, change management, IT infrastructure improvement, and data privacy measures. Collaboration with local providers and government agencies can enhance internet services. Ongoing training and community education are vital for system success, as is integration with other healthcare systems, data analytics, and expansion to private hospitals.

In conclusion, the BGHMC-HCPN Online Referral System improved the way healthcare is delivered in the province of Bataan. While challenges were encountered, ongoing efforts and enhancements ensure the system’s long-term success and benefit to the community.


Esconde, E. (2021, March 19). Bataan hospitals can still accommodate patients – Philippine News Agency. Philippine Information Agency. https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1134236

Philstar.com. (2020, August 26). Rural Health Units urged to step up services under “New normal.” Philstar.com. https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/08/26/2037988/rural-health-units-urged-step-services-under-new-normal