Better communication between the island’s numerous health-care providers is required to improve the quality and administration of patient care.
This was the view shared by Ian Weithers, President of the Barbados Association of Radiographers, as he spoke to media personnel during Saturday’s opening ceremony for the Barbados Association of Radiographers and the Barbados Health Information Management Conference 2023. The conference was held at the O2 Beach Club and Spa, Dover Beach, Christ Church.
Weithers said COVID-19 was an eye-opening experience for the medical community, with access to patient information and other data proving challenging despite the need for it.
“In the past, everyone managed their own information, and sometimes it would be difficult when one is dealing with patient records and information to get information from another area. With the advancement of technologies we are now beginning to share information a whole lot better, which obviously means better management of patient care,” Weithers said.
“There are still a lot of gaps in information sharing. A lot of gaps for instance in care, the continuum of care. We need to get that better if patients are supposed to be better treated, and we get success with all of the other things that we are doing.”
Meanwhile, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Sonia Browne, also shared similar sentiments, stating that Government and medical organisations need to work together to remove data silos and other inefficiencies within the system to better improve patient care.
“Images of disparities in access, inefficiencies in the provision of care, and absence of supporting quality mechanisms, compartmentalisation of care does not allow for the provision of services from the systems perspective. It breeds inefficiencies in the use of resources and maximisation of funds,” Browne said.
“Additionally, the health-care industry has long been grappling with the challenge of hidden data silos; these data silos make it more difficult for organisations and health-care professionals to exchange information smoothly, which impedes care coordination and ultimately affects patient outcomes.”
Government and medical organisations work together to remove data silos and other inefficiencies within the system to better improve patient care, Bowne said.
She also revealed that the Ministry of Health and Wellness in 2022, with support from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) did an assessment of Barbados’ Information Systems for Health (IS4H), to develop a short and medium term work plan for the national level. Findings from this assessment will be used in short order to better streamline a number of services on the island.