Beginning Monday, July 7th, the Ministry of Health executed a pilot programme designed to computerize patient information.
Patients at the Grandbay Health Centre and the Princess Margaret Hospital’s Accident & Emergency Department are the first to try out this new initiative, Dominica Medical Information System or DMedIS
Hospital Services Coordinator, Clayton Brian spoke to the press on Friday.
“This electronic medical information system has been nicknamed DMedIS. We have a computer at the Accident & Emergency Departmentand as patients come into the department they will be registered on the computer. There are new forms which have been improved so that we can capture as much information as needed for the health information system. All this information is being input electronically by one of our employees. We will also have this paper-based system temporarily. That means medical staff will be inputting information onto the forms which will then be scanned into the computers by the medical personnel,” he explained.
The Medical Records Department will then compile this data into electronic files.
The computerisation of patients’ files will mean, among other things, faster file retrieval.
Brian said, “Sometimes it takes a long time before medical personnel can retrieve record because they have to physically search the storage area and sometimes these records are not found for a long time. But with this new system, these files will be available electronically and at any point throughout the island, medical personnel with appropriate access can retrieve these medical records.”
The plan is the widespread installation of DMedIS following the successful piloting at the two health care centres.
According to Brian, “Ultimately every health centre and department and ward within the PMH will have computers and every member of medical staff will have access to the electronic information. This will allow us to improve the quality of care that we provide to the populace.”
The Health Information Unit at the PMH will manage the system and the information will be stored at the island’s main health facility.
While the programme is being run at the Accident & Emergency Department and the Grand Bay Health Centre, administrators are soliciting the public’s understanding.
“Because it is a new system, there will be teething issues and there may be some delays so we are asking the general public to just be a little patient. If you experience some delay which may be minor we’re just asking you to be cooperative and just understand that it is a new system and...We’re hoping that this process will be a short one as it relates to the delays that will be experienced by members of the public,” Brian says.
DMedIS will be tested for three months before it is evaluated by health administrators and then piloted at the patient wards of the Princess Margaret Hospital.