The official signing ceremony for the installation of an Electronic Health Records (EHR) System for Jamaica was held on Tuesday at the Ministry of Health & Wellness, marking a significant step forward for the island’s public health.
The system, which operates under the tenet of “one patient, one record,” sees the conversion of patient records to a paperless format and the uploading and exchange of these records across healthcare providers for the efficient and coordinated provision of treatment.
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Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton stated, “today, as we usher in the Electronic Health Records System, we mark an important milestone on the road to delivering equitable, comprehensive, and quality health care for the people of Jamaica, and to making reliable and modern infrastructure available for health service delivery.”
Shorter wait times for patients, lower service costs, more productivity, less stressed staff, and higher levels of customer satisfaction are all expected as a result of the system’s deployment. Its features include a patient registration system for scheduling appointments and assigning patients in a facility’s triage process.
Additional feasible characteristics include a seamless diagnostic imaging interface that will let medical personnel see x-rays and CT scans on in-house PCs and tablets.
Dr. Tufton noted, “Telemedicine also becomes a reality, with collaboration among specialist and primary care health professionals made possible, in and outside of the island.”
He added, “The system also has the capacity to produce reports on the operational efficiency of facilities and will be able to provide information not only to the doctor, but also the patient, facility management and the regional health authorities, as well as the Ministry of Health & Wellness concerning service delivery and standards of care provided.”
Over the course of the following 18 months, the system will be implemented at 13 healthcare institutions, including the Spanish Town Hospital, where Tuesday’s event took place, for a little over $5 million.
St. Ann’s Bay Hospital, May Pen Hospital, May Pen West Health Centre, Chapelton Community Hospital, May Pen East Health Centre, Mocho Health Centre, Greater Portmore Health Centre, St. Jago Park Health Centre, Old Harbour Health Centre, St. Ann’s Bay Health Centre, Ocho Rios Health Centre, and Brown’s Town Health Centre are additional facilities that will gain from this initial phase.
According to the health ministry, the Inter-American Development Bank provided the Jamaican government with funding in the amount of US$50 million for the Health Systems Strengthening Project, which would be used to pay for the installation of the EHR. A chunk of that money is going toward the EHR.
The UK business The Phoenix Partnership (TPP) was chosen to implement the system. Together with new features, such as a patient-focused mobile app, its contractual duties to Jamaica also include a 15-year support term.