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Health information system by end of fiscal year — Tufton

Monday, July 30, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, has announced that Jamaicans can expect a new Health Information System before the end of the financial year, where data is collected and shared about patients on one platform that connects hospitals and health centres across the island.

According to Dr Tufton, a system of this nature will assist medical practitioners with an easier way of storing and sharing files, in a digital way, on persons who are in dire need of medical assistance.

Dr Tufton was speaking at the launch of the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) Hospital Information Management System on Friday (July 27) in the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit's lecture theatre.

“Where we are now, is that we have settled on a plan, and we are now negotiating the financing, in order to look on a Health Information System. We are well advanced in securing funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and I believe by the end of this year, certainly before the end of the financial year, we will be in a position to say to the country, this is the direction we are moving in,” the health minister said.

Dr Tufton said the system will be a model of the UHWI's Hospital Information Management System. “We are pretty convinced, and even the consultants have said what you are doing here (at the UHWI) represents a workable model, and I was happy for that validation, because I was seeking that kind of assessment, both theoretical and practical, to see what the direction would be if we were to do the other 23 hospitals across Jamaica, and connect even to our health centres,” he said.

Meanwhile, Principal and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the West Indies, Mona, Professor Archibald McDonald, gave an overview of the new Hospital Information Management System.

He said this new system will not only store data on patients, but aid the facility with increased tracking of infections and be better able to give conclusions about infections based on different demographics in a digital format and in quicker time.

“Our lack of ability to track infections and follow real-time guidelines from institutions such as CDC/PAHO has impacted negatively on the hospital's development and teaching,” Professor McDonald said.

“The lack of a comprehensive electronic medical system results in suboptimal performance in research, long waiting time at appointments, lost records, inadequate reading and review of images, delays in billing and collections, delays in production of medical records and medicolegal documents. This has negatively impacted research output, compromised patient care and leads to an increase in customer dissatisfaction and complaints,” he said.

McDonald said that with the new system, the UHWI should no longer have these problems, along with the issues of lost files, deficient and inadequate documentation.

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