Bahamas Health Care Information Soon to Become “Paperless”

As a continued part of its transformation of the country’s health care landscape, the Government of The Bahamas is nearing the launch date of the Integrated Health Information Management System.

The program, according to Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez, in and of itself, is revolutionary and is expected to transform medical record keeping in the country.

The Health Minister’s remarks came during his address at the 18th Annual Governor General’s visit at the Rand Memorial Hospital. This year marked the third of such visits for Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

In his address, Dr. Gomez pointed out that within one year, The Bahamas will operate in a paperless medical records environment.

“At the click of a button, the physician or nurse practitioner within a Family Island will be able to access a patient’s medical records in real time,” explained Dr. Gomez. “What this means is that if you attend the nurse in Mayguana, travel to the Berry Islands and attend the doctor, and at any time travel on to New Providence for care at the Princess Margaret Hospital, all of your healthcare visits will be recorded in one electronic document.

“No more will there need to be several different files on any one patient.”

The Integrated System is expected to cost the government of The Bahamas approximately $20 million.

The Health Minister noted that the idea behind the costly upgrade is to bring about a one patient, one record approach.

“This will significantly improve the care we deliver to our patients, as there will be a chronological itinerary of care delivered to the patient in one document,” Minister Gomez reiterated.

As the government prepares to introduce National Health Insurance, Dr. Gomez pointed out that the Grand Bahama Health care team will form a major part of the national equation. He noted that one of the major projects in the government’s health strengthening initiative is the planned expansion of the Rand Memorial Hospital to accommodate increased bed space.

“I am therefore happy to report that the new West End clinic, which had its completion timeline pushed back because of the recent storm, is well on the way to completion and is scheduled to open in early 2017,” Minister Gomez said.

“We have also recently acquired additional property near the High Rock Clinic for the expansion of this service for the East End community. Grand Bahama Health Services also received the proverbial shot in the arm when the EMS Department received three new ambulances, one of which will be placed at the Eight Mile Rock Clinic and the others enhancing response to calls in the Freeport area.

“Another ambulance has been procured for the West End clinic to coincide with the completion schedule and the subsequent official opening of the new West End Clinic.”

Revealing more plans on the drawing board for improved services at the Rand Memorial Hospital, Dr. Gomez noted that Grand Bahama Health Services is also continuing efforts to improve access to services and enhance quality of care for specialty services throughout its various community health clinics.

“I am pleased to note that this year at the Grand Bahama Health services we welcomed sixty-five persons from my government’s Apprenticeship and Mentorship program. We also added another full-time Ophthalmologist to further expand eye services to the Eight Mile Rock community clinic.”

Dr. Gomez said that continuing education and training are always high on the Public Hospital Authority’s agenda. As such, he pointed out that members of the nursing team at Grand Bahama Health Services recently completed Masters of Science Degrees in public Health, at the University of the West Indies.

The nurses also completed a certificate course in Emergency Nursing at UWI, early Childhood Management in Thailand and the Midwifery program at the College of The Bahamas.

The Health Minister thanked the doctors, nurses and staff at the Rand Memorial Hospital and within the Grand Bahama Health Services for the dedication, hard work and commitment to the public during and after the passing of Hurricane Matthew.

“Here in Grand Bahama, many of our community Clinics were damaged and were not immediately operational, however, with the prompt assistance of the Ministry of Grand Bahama, civic groups and businesses in Grand Bahama, our able healthcare professionals soon restored services to the people of Grand Bahama in remarkable time,” said Dr. Gomez.

This year’s Governor General’s visit had the theme ‘After the storm: rebuilding and surviving.’

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