Digital medical records for Guyana in three years – Health Minister
In the next three years, the introduction of an electronic medical record system is expected to revolutionise how medical records are kept and accessed.
The adoption of this system has become a necessity and will say goodbye to paper records, Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony said on Thursday at the launch of a nursing programme in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam).
“When a patient comes to the health centre or hospital you would have a computer where you would be entering the records electronically and if that patient had come before and [they are] already in the records, all you have to do is take the patient’s unique identifier and put that in and all the patient’s previous records would come up,” Dr Anthony explained.
The records will include how many times the patient visited, if they had any imaging such as X-rays, lab results, medication and if they have any allergies.
“This is something that we are also working on to make sure that our records over the next three to four years would be totally electronic,” Dr Anthony said.
But to protect the patient’s information, the necessary legislation will have to be in place. In this regard, Dr Anthony revealed that such legislation is being developed.
“One of the things that we have already started working on is to make sure that by sometime next year that we will be able to pass the relevant laws to allow for digital or electronic record systems and also to create a legislative environment to ensure that these records and people’s information are kept safe.”
Meanwhile, a working group has been established within the ministry which has collaborated with the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, to design the electronic patient record system.
With this system, doctors will be able to access patients’ records quickly and when a diagnosis is made, a prescription for medication will go directly to the pharmacists.
Dr Anthony said he is hopeful that by 2023, a pilot programme for the electronic system will be up and running.
And soon, the nursing and pharmacy programmes will be exposed to information technology so health care workers will be trained on how to operate the system.
Starting from January 2023, the registered nursing programme is set to be launched online while simulation centres are being developed to cater for the practical classes.
“You will be able to strengthen what you have learned in theory and be able to practice it,” Dr Anthony said.
Meanwhile, on Thursday the ministry’s Health Sciences Education Division launched the Nursing Assistant Programme in Region Two at the Suddie Public Hospital.
This first-time Nursing Assistant Programme launched within the Region commenced with a batch of 45 students who will be trained over eighteen months.