Dr. Rhodd Highlights Benefits of Telemedicine

State Minister for National Security, Dr. Donald Rhodd has said that Jamaica is moving towards a future in telemedicine, the type most commonly used for specialty consults, disease management and follow-up care.
“The use of telemedicine in which telecommunication-based technologies are applied to medicine, can make a valuable contribution to health care delivery in the region,” Dr. Rhodd emphasized. “It also makes for better time management, as it will allow for patients to receive consultations remotely, so that a patient at one hospital who would normally be transferred to another for consultation, could receive this service without having to travel,” he added. Dr. Rhodd was addressing medical practitioners at a medical conference, held recently at the Breezes Runaway Bay Hotel in St. Ann.
Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health, Horace Dalley, Dr. Rhodd said that the conference, with the theme: ‘Advancement in Medicine 2007: A US and Caribbean Perspective”, would provide a stage for local and overseas clinical experts to give an update on research diagnostic procedures and therapeutic breakthrough in the field of medicine.
“As you are aware, expected years of life have increased in both developed and many developing countries. Health planners now have to pay more attention to the epidemic of chronic diseases and the most cost effective strategy is to promote a healthy lifestyle. The Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Health, has implemented programmes that address obesity, especially the emerging situation of obesity in children. This is being done through exercise and proper nutrition programmes in schools,” he said.
The State Minister pointed out that the screening for heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, breast and cervical cancers was priority service for both the public and private sectors.
“It is important to note that for advances in medicine to be sustained, a trained workforce must be available to the health sector. Funding is therefore continuously sought to build expertise and capacity.
The National Health Fund, through its Institutional Benefits Project, has been giving financial assistance to the health sector in order for us to undertake various types of training and procurement of vital equipment,” Dr. Rhodd said.
He commended the various organizations for organizing the conference, including the Organization of Strategic Development in Jamaica (OSDJ), the International Leadership Institute (ILI), the Ministry of Health, the University of the West Indies (UWI), the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), the Mayo Clinic, and other overseas partners.

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