(Left to right) Shawn Bolton, Senior ICT Consultant at the Department of Health; the Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton; Carol Robertson, Director of Enterprise, Government and IT Solutions at Cable and Wireless Business; Donna Hurmal, Senior Account Manager, Cable and Wireless Business and Garth Lue, Project Management Manager, Cable & Wireless Business during the tour on Thursday.
KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Jamaican government, in partnership with international donors and private sector interests, is nearing completion of the first phase of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, which will provide real-time data to hospitals and health clinics on the island.
Health and Welfare Minister Dr Christopher Tufton toured the system’s nerve center at Mona’s e-Gov offices as well as the warehouse at Cable and Wireless facilities on Carlton Crescent on Thursday.
The ICT infrastructure is part of the Jamaican Government’s Health System Strengthening Program which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) with support from the European Union.
According to Tufton, once completed, the ICT infrastructure will allow the island’s healthcare structure to be on par with first world countries. The first phase costs $8.4 million.
He said the e-Gov nerve center will be a storage facility that will keep patient information such as personal data and patient profile in a tamper-proof environment.
Tufton said the data will be accessible by all public health facilities on the island by authorized individuals, eliminating the need for physical transfer of paper records. Doctors will also be able to assess, diagnose and treat a patient remotely.
“It’s an advanced system that we’re putting in place. It’s never been done before in Jamaica and I suspect that in the region and the benefit and the beauty of this system, it’s networking our national connection around the health centers and hospitals.
“What this will do is allow us to move information very quickly and safely. This translates to a more accurate assessment of an illness and faster planning to treat that person,” Tufton said.
The ICT infrastructure at this stage will consist of over 2,800 devices, which will include desktops, laptops and tablets. These will be connected to the system, which is done by Cable and Wireless.
He said the system should be ready to begin use in September, which will mark the start of the second phase, which will involve putting software on the hardware to do much of the complicated work.
“All of this means that we will have one of the most modern technology-based health information systems, like any first-world country, anywhere in the world and that’s a good thing.
“That means we’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the healthcare system and ensure patients can be treated in a timely manner,” Tufton said.