Sun | Jun 26, 2022

Islandwide ICT health infrastructure to be ready by September

Published:Monday | May 16, 2022 | 12:08 AMAsha Wilks/Gleaner Writer
Dr. Christopher Tufton, (centre) minister of health and wellness, Shawn Bolton, (left) MOHW ICT lead and Carol Robertson, (right) director government enterprise and IT solutions at Flow looks at one of the computer during a tour of the ICT Warehouse – He
Dr. Christopher Tufton, (centre) minister of health and wellness, Shawn Bolton, (left) MOHW ICT lead and Carol Robertson, (right) director government enterprise and IT solutions at Flow looks at one of the computer during a tour of the ICT Warehouse – Health Systems Strengthening Programme at Flow on Carlton Crescent in Kingston.

The use of information and communications technology (ICT) to improve patient processing times and service delivery across Jamaica’s 150 public hospitals and health centres is inching closer to completion.

This announcement was made by Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton during a tour of a data centre, located at eGov Jamaica Limited and at the ICT warehouse of Cable and Wireless Business – Jamaica, with which the ministry has collaborated.

As part of the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ (MOHW) health systems strengthening programme, valued at $8.43 million, the all-island infrastructure being implemented is scheduled to be available by September.

A total of 2,800 pieces of equipment, to include desktops; laptops; specialised,medical-grade tablet devices will be distributed.

The next phase of the programme, which is currently in its pilot stage, is to add the software to these devices, so that it may be utilised ridding the health sector of its antiquated, paper-based systems of collecting data.

“What this mean ... is that we will have one of the most modern, technology-based, health information system, just as any First-World country,” said Tufton.

He went on to say that he had witnessed the demonstration of one of the more sophisticated ICT infrastructures in Jamaica.

CENTRAL LOCATION

All the data collected from hospitals will be sent to a central location that logs patient information and will be easily transferred between health facilities.

During the tour, Shawn Bolton, MOHW’s ICT lead, explained that the system’s hub has the capacity to store all health information and would be backed-up in an equally secured secondary location, which allows for the movement of the data from whichever location it is inputted to other access points and could be used in another location in real time.

Tufton, in his remarks, explained that the collaboration sought to enhance the responsiveness and resilience of the healthcare system, with other benefits to include the accurate assessment of a sickness; the ability for large volumes of data to be transmitted, such as precise videos and images, allowing for a level of precision to the extent that doctors could access patients remotely through telemedicine and be able to diagnose and offer immediate treatment.

Up to one million cases can be transferred at a time in real time. The system will also undergo frequent testing in efforts to detect any vulnerabilities which may arise; however, the new system is a product of the latest, state-of-the-art version of its technology.

The health systems strengthening programme is financed through the Inter-American Development Bank, with support from the European Union. In addition to the ICT infrastructure work, the programme sees, among other things, the physical upgrade of some 13 health facilities islandwide.

asha.wilks@gleanerjm.com