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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Feb 13, 2017 - 1:45:37 AM

IHIMS to Promote Greater Healthcare Efficiency / Effectiveness
By Matt Maura, BIS
Jan 20, 2017 - 12:06:32 PM

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Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez. (Photo/Courtesy Public Hospitals Authority)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The implementation of an Integrated Health Information Management System (IHIMS) at the public healthcare level in The Bahamas, has the potential to “fundamentally change” the public healthcare system’s approach to service delivery and care.

Public healthcare officials said patients across the Commonwealth of The Bahamas will “directly benefit” from the implementation.

Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Michael Perry Gomez, said implementation of the IHIMS Program will allow for -- among other critical matters -- health information (including patients’ records) to be exchanged securely and privately across the public healthcare system thereby allowing for greater efficiency and effectiveness; will enhance the purchase and delivery of life-saving medications; and can alert physicians to specific patients’ needs or problems in real time.

“There is no question that when health information can be exchanged securely and privately so that a patient’s record is always available and always current, that our hospitals experience a greater measure of efficiency and productivity,” Dr. Gomez said. “Indeed, when patient information and medical records are instantly available to clinicians, our clients experience an enhanced quality of care.

“When a Health Information System can enhance the procurement and delivery of life-saving medications; when it can automatically alert physicians to a specific patient’s needs or problems, then what we are talking about is quite simply a quantum leap forward in the reform and transformation of our healthcare system.”

Dr. Gomez made his statement at the Official Launch of the IHIMS program on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at St. Joseph’s Church Hall, Boyd Road.

He said: “To fully understand the assignment/significance of this implementation, one must take into consideration the fact that our national public healthcare system consists of more than 100 public health clinics, three major public hospitals and their associated agencies; a complex multi-island pre-hospital care service and the support services necessary to operate such a diverse network of health facilities and services.”

Dr. Gomez, said implementation of the program is part of a national initiative of “vital improvements” that have been undertaken or will be facilitated across the public healthcare system under the auspices of the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA).

The Public Hospitals Authority, he said, has already made “tremendous progress” with respect to those capital projects “necessary” to improve the physical plants of the country’s public hospitals, and in its recruitment efforts to address longstanding shortfalls in key clinical professions.

Progress has also been made to replace and enhance diagnostic imaging and medical laboratory equipment in addition to PHA officials “working hand in glove” with counterparts at the Department of Public Health to adopt a ‘Whole Health’ approach to national healthcare policies.

“The Public Hospitals Authority has proven to be a vital lynchpin in the reform and advancement of our public health services and infrastructure,” Dr. Gomez said. “Modernization has been a key theme with respect to the Authority’s strategic development of the physical environment, services, management and resources at all of our public hospitals and allied agencies.

“As we move forward with the integrated health information management program, we are once again taking a giant leap forward with respect to modernizing our public healthcare sector,” Dr. Gomez added.

Dr. Gomez said reformation of the public healthcare system, its infrastructure and its services by the Public Hospitals Authority has paved the way for modernization and advancement of the public healthcare system.

“I often reflect on the march of progress that I, and those of my generation, have witnesses in my three decades as a physician in this country. Progress is often taken for granted in so many spheres of life. However, when applied to healthcare, each advance we make represents a direct improvement in our capacity to deliver care.

“Many of the most advanced technologies and treatments in the world are available to patients in our public hospitals, but for far too long, our basic medical records, patient information, billing and hospital registration systems have lagged. That lag has, at times, retarded the effective delivery of our services and bottlenecked access and resources.

“This is why the adoption of an Integrated Health Information Management System reflects such significant enhancement for our public health system [as] every patient in every health facility across the nation will benefit directly,” Dr. Gomez said.

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