The Ministry of Health and Wellness on Tuesday (February 28) hosted the official signing ceremony for the implementation of an Electronic Health Records (EHR) System for Jamaica, a historic move in public health for the island.
The system, which turns on the philosophy of ‘one patient, one record’, sees the transition to a paperless system for patient records and the upload and sharing of these records among healthcare providers for the seamless and collaborative delivery of care.
“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,” said Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.
The implementation of the system, whose features include a patient-registration system for appointment setting and assignment of patients in the triage process of a facility – will mean shorter wait times for patients; less cost in providing services; increased productivity; reduced staff frustration; and increased service satisfaction levels.
Other features that help to make that possible include a seamless interface of critical diagnostic imaging that will enable health care professionals to see x-rays and CT scans on computers and tablets provided within the facilities.
“Telemedicine also becomes a reality, with collaboration among specialist and primary care health professionals made possible, in and outside of the island,” Tufton said.
“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,” the minister added.
The next 18 months will see the just over US$5 million rollout of the system across 13 health facilities, including at the Spanish Town Hospital where Tuesday’s ceremony took place.
Other facilities to benefit in this first phase are, 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.
The implementation of the EHR is paid for under the Health Systems Strengthening Programme for which the Government of Jamaica was given financing to the tune of US$50 million by the Inter-American Development Bank. A portion of that sum is being invested in the EHR.
The UK firm, The Phoenix Partnership (TPP), is the company contracted to deliver the system. TPP, with its 26 years of institutional experience, is the leading global provider of healthcare technology, with a reputation of working alongside governments to improve health outcomes and tackle inequalities in care.
Their contractual obligations to Jamaica also include a 15-year support period, along with additional functionality, such as a patient-centric mobile app.