The Ministry of Health has secured funding from the World Bank to develop a National Strategic Plan for National Health Information System strengthening and modernisation, over the six-month period from July to December 2012.
This was disclosed by Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 11.
He noted that the Ministry would continue to conduct activities to improve the existing paper-based system in preparation for the design and establishment of Electronic Health Records (EHR).
“Attention is also being given to the information Governance requirements for the EHR, with specific attention to security, privacy and confidentiality,” Dr. Ferguson said.
In the meantime, the Minister said the adoption of global standards, which are evidence-based, and best practices at all levels of the health care delivery service system is the only way to ensure sustainability and best outcomes in the health care delivery services.
"We need to have reliable data to develop evidence-based policies; to inform decision-making; and for monitoring health indicators. It is no secret that we need to improve our records management systems. One important data source for the Ministry is the paper based patient medical records,” the Health Minister said.
He also informed that an assessment of the national health information system was undertaken in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), and that the report indicated that there is a need to improve the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure, the policy and legislation framework, the related human and financial resources, and overall data management.
“The Ministry has taken these findings seriously and we are applying the attention and resources to secure improvements in a realistic and carefully planned manner,” Dr. Ferguson said.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter