Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Health minister wants to regularise telemedicine

Published:Wednesday | June 29, 2016 | 6:00 AM

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has said he plans to engage a telecommunications company with a view to regularising telemedicine in local hospitals.

Telemedicine is the branch of medicine that allows for the remote delivery of health-care services over telecommunications infrastructure. It also allows for better care in places where medical expertise is hard to access.

Tufton acknowledged that there are isolated cases of it locally in certain hospitals, but he wants to formalise it.

"We're looking at some countries, like Panama, where it is done. The idea is to establish that platform in each of the hospitals in the first instance, then include a routine of scheduling so that specialised treatments can be done remotely as opposed to moving patients three or four hours from one place to the next," he said, following a tour of the Percy Junor Hospital in Spaldings, Manchester, last Friday.

Tufton also wants to pitch the idea to the diaspora.

"Right now, we're doing an experiment with the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), where the computerised tomography scans are done at KPH but are read at UHWI," he said.

The minister informed that a roll-out of this programme will take place this financial year.

During his tour, the minister visited several sections, including the paediatric wards, the male and female medical wards and a biodigester located on the hospital's grounds.