ON June 4, 2022, the Jamaica Observer published an article headed ‘Electronic Transmission of Prescriptions Lawful’, noting that the Attorney General’s Chambers have declared the transmission of electronic prescriptions to be lawful.
Subsequent to the publishing of this article the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton had written to the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica sharing the announcement by the attorney general and advising them to proceed accordingly. The council has been invited to make recommendations and guidelines to further advise on the use of electronic prescriptions on the island.
MDLink has been a trailblazer in the dissemination of electronic prescriptions for the past five years as it offers convenience and increased access to health care via its telehealth platform. From its inception MDLink has always strived to comply with the legal requirements set out in both the Data Protection Act, 2020 as well as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Additionally, it has been keen to follow international standards of data protection as it serves countries in the wider Caribbean region including the Cayman Islands, Saint Lucia, the British Virgin Islands, Trinidad, The Bahamas and more. What these regulations ensure is that health-care practitioners are practising using appropriate measures to safeguard patients’ personal data, privacy and security.
MDLink provides health-care services to patients via its digital platform. Patients are able to access treatment from their doctors using text, video calls and voice calls. Patients can be assessed, treated or advised to have an in-person meeting with a doctor for further assessment, based on anticipated severity. Additionally, patients can get prescription refills and follow-ups — all from the convenience of their homes, offices or anywhere convenient to them with Internet access.
Since the novel coronavirus pandemic many health-care workers have turned to digital platforms such as Zoom and WhatsApp to treat their patients and administer prescriptions, which serves as a means of protecting themselves and their patients from the virus by maintaining social distance and limiting in-person contact. What has made MDLink stand out from its local counterparts during this time is its digital platform made specifically for the purpose of administering telehealth care. This platform has been carefully developed to protect patients’ personal data and maintain privacy and, unlike other digital platforms, MDLink’s platform is created with data protection at the centre.
In particular, health data for patients is recognised as highly sensitive, and MDLink’s platform ensures only those authorised to view sensitive patient information have access to its storage and transmission, if necessary. Patients are required to give consent on the platform before sharing any information with a health-care provider, with their rights clearly outlined for them before treatment. Additionally, with the pharmacies that have partnered with MDLink, there are systems in place to ensure that there are no instances of dual dispensing of medication but that patients are only administered what their doctors deem necessary for treatment.
Samantha Moore, partner at Ramsay & Partners which specialises in data protection and who represents MDLink, has noted that, “MDLink has always strived to maintain the highest standard of data protection for its patients. It has been the entity’s main priority to comply with the local and international standards for data protection in health care and specifically telehealth. As the Pharmacy Council of Jamaica continues to assess the situation we will ensure to remain abreast of any changes in regulations and ensure MDLink is fully compliant in its operations.”
President, CEO and chief medical officer at MDLink, Dr Ché Bowen added, “The acknowledgement of the legality of the electronic transmission of prescriptions by our minister of health and attorney general is a major win for the future of digital and modernised health care in Jamaica and the region. As we see an increase in electronic prescriptions, MDLink hopes to continue to be the standard followed to ensure patients all over the island are being treated in safe, trustworthy spaces. MDLink continues to serve the public professionally and at the highest standard.”
Additionally, MDLink encourages all health-care practitioners to move toward the new digital trends taking place in health care on the island as this is a great step towards the advancement of Jamaica’s health sector. This will further place Jamaica’s health care on par with its First World counterparts.
All medical doctors have the opportunity to register on MDLink’s platform for free once their licences are up to date. That way, health-care providers who have been using other digital platforms to treat their patients will be able to access the additional security and protection from MDLink’s advanced system. Any pharmacies islandwide that are interested in partnering with MDLink can also reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Ché Bowen, a digital health entrepreneur and family physician, is the CEO & founder of MDLink, a digital health company that provides telemedicine options. Check out the company’s website at www.theMDLink.com. You can also contact him at email@example.com.