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Comprehensive information system needed to enhance health services - Tufton

Published:Friday | July 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Dr Natalie Whylie, senior medical officer of Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) demonstrating to Dr Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health, (right), features of the system. Others from left are Errol Green, CEO of KPH and Errol Miller, executive chairman of the FLOW Foundation.
Dr Christopher Tufton

Developing a dependable health information system is an important undertaking of the Government in enhancing public health services in Jamaica, says Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton.

The minister was speaking at the handing over of 10 desktop computers to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) yesterday. The computers were donated by the FLOW Foundation and are valued at just over $1 million.

He said that he was hoping to have details of the rollout of a comprehensive health information system in the next financial year, having already sought partnering agreements with an unnamed country through negotiations with the World Health Organization (WHO).




The minister said that the health information system will make the accessing of patient's record and health information easier and in real time.

"From a policy perspective, the reality is that public health care in Jamaica has to operate as a network. If parts of the system go down, it affects other parts. So, as a consequence, we have to look at the overall system and plan and strategise ... to address all the critical components that contribute to enhance public health service provision," Tufton said.

"As a follow-on to that, I have tapped the WHO with a bilateral partner - a large country that I am not willing to name at the moment," he said. Tufton said that they were aiming at getting " ... bilateral support to partner with us and to give us a commitment for a build-out of that information system over time".

... 'Have to find a way to enhance service'

Using the recent outbreak of chik-V and ZIK-V cases as examples of the overwhelming pressure brought to bear on hospitals across the country, along with the surge of gun violence and the impact that those have had on hospital services, Tufton said that the Government will have to find a way to enhance those services.

Key to this, he said, is the ability of the hospitals and the ministry to adapt to changing dynamics, which will impact the delivery of quality service, noting that, ultimately, what is required will be the ongoing review of the processes to maintain relevance.

"It's a dynamic environment. Disease profiles changes, the risk profile of the population changes, and, as a consequence, it's a moving target, where things have to be done more efficiently, requiring more equipment, more specialist services," he said.