The Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) is one step closer to becoming a digitally-inclusive unit thanks to the Flow Foundation. On Friday, April 8, the Foundation delivered two Dell Chromebook laptops and two Wi-Fi routers which will help to modernise the services offered by the hospital. The donation also included 10,000 sterile area shoe covers.
The KPH is Jamaica’s largest multidisciplinary hospital and is also an integral training facility for medical students looking to enter the health sector. Dr Marsha Chong, a consultant with the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, underscored the importance of the Flow Foundation’s technology upgrade to both patient care and medical training.
“We are a teaching institution where we have residents in training programmes so with the devices and the laptops they will have access to the internet and they will be able to do research and read up-to-date articles,” Dr Chong noted. “The doctors will also have access to patient records and results, as we are looking to have our lab results online very soon.”
According to the Ministry of Health, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in online healthcare with more than 8,000 Jamaicans seeking medical attention via telecommunication technologies between March and May in 2020. The national and global drive towards technologically-supported patient care has highlighted the importance of this service to the KPH. One of the first steps in modernising patient care at the KPH is digitising the hospital records so patient information can be accessed quickly on an internet-capable device.
“We’re operating paper-based now so if we have digital access to patient information we will readily have the information at our fingertips instead of physically stored in the records area,” said Dr Chong. “If a patient comes to us in the middle of the night, the record may not be readily available but with the digital access, we will be able to treat the patient appropriately and in a timely manner.”
The Flow Foundation’s support of the digital direction of the KPH points to a tremendous area of opportunity for all of Jamaica – telemedicine. In October 2021, C&W Business Jamaica, Flow’s sister company, was engaged by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to enhance the delivery of healthcare in the country via a managed services contract.
Through the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure project, more than 100 health facilities will benef it from this US$8.43 million initiative. At the contract signing, Flow’s Vice President and General Manager Stephen Price said, “As the provider of the technological backbone for ICT services across the country, we have the scope, the breadth and depth to provide this type of support and innovative solutions to enhance the delivery of healthcare in Jamaica.”
He further stated that the signing was also “a vote of confidence in our capacity, skills capabilities and resources to deliver this mission critical initiative for our nation. All the projects and initiatives to date have been successful and we are delighted that the government, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, is now leveraging the scale and expertise that we bring to initiatives of this nature, where managed services are required to support facilities and institutions.”
Dr Chong added that the medical field will greatly benefit from the efficiencies and transformation that technology provides, which will ultimately benefit the quality of care patients receive.
“Technology is extremely important in medicine as it is dynamic and fast moving. Technology gives us access to information across the world and we can see what other countries are doing and compare and tailor our treatment approach to what more developed countries are doing,” Dr Chong explained.
“It also gives us the ability to communicate better and enables telemedicine where you can remotely consult a patient, or a colleague for a second opinion, so technology and digital access is extremely important to the medical field.”