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Health Ministry looking to improve data sharing

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, says he has charged a team within the ministry to identify strategies to improve how information is shared across the public and private healthcare system.

Tufton, who was addressing the 29th General Conference of the Ophthalmological Society of the West Indies, held recently at the Moon Palace Jamaica Grand Resort in Ocho Rios, says the objective is to strengthen the delivery of health services to Jamaicans.

“It is quite clear to me that there needs to be some mainstreaming of information… because if you have incomplete, inaccurate or, even worse, no data at all, it's going to be very difficult to take a coordinated approach [to healthcare],”he argued.

“There are significant gaps in [health] data, and we have to address that if we are going to make a more meaningful impact or have a more impactful effect on treating with the concerns that exist out there,” he added.

Tufton said the ministry will “begin to look at the standardisation of a policy that is benchmarked by international standards,” noting that there are countries that have policies in place that can be tweaked to suit local needs.

“A lot of the work that we do now in Jamaica, and I suspect in the other regions, involves a number of players, both from the service provision standpoint through to infrastructure, tools and equipment standpoint. [We have to] coordinate better the partnerships that are out there,” he said, advising that partnership is key in ensuring the success of the information-sharing process.

The minister stated that the substantial partners have to be government and private sector in the first instance, as these are the two main players in the health sector, but beyond that, non-governmental organisations and other interests will also have an important role to play.

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