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Technology to improve healthcare delivery — Wheatley

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — In the next couple of weeks the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology will be launching a pilot initiative that will enhance healthcare delivery across the island through the use of technology.

Dubbed eCare, the initiative is being implemented in collaboration with the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Diabetes Association of Jamaica.

Portfolio Minister Dr Andrew Wheatley made the disclosure during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on May 15.

eCare will allow a patient to, through the use of technology, interact with their doctor for consultation and advice, without having to leave home to visit a clinic or medical practice.

It will facilitate video conferencing between doctor and patient, along with affording the medical professional the convenience of sending prescriptions to the patient's pharmacy of choice.

Dr Wheatley said the eCare pilot will have a phased introduction at select health centres, adding that 5,000 people will be selected to be part of the pilot, with their data to be analysed as part of the evaluation process before the nationwide launch of the programme.

“I believe that eCare is a game changer, as it will revolutionise the way in which doctors and their patients collaborate to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease,” he said.

He said doctors and their clinical support staff will receive training in the use of the technology and how technology can assist them in assessing specific parameters such as blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Dr Wheatley said that through eCare,  technology will be used to cut the long waiting queues at public health centres; reduce overcrowding at these facilities; better manage the incidence of NCDs; realise tremendous cost savings and contribute to a healthy society; and put power into the hands of patients to better manage their own health.