The Ministry of Health & Social Services has embarked on a progressive venture to convert patient records into a digital format. Using the software Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Advantage supplied by Canadian Health Systems Inc., the Medical Records team at the Glendon Hospital has begun the process of uploading approximately 2,500 hardcopy records within the Medical Records Department.
This undertaking is an important step in the Ministry of Health’s journey towards a modern and efficient health system in Montserrat. The digitisation of these records is the first stride towards a multi-phase deployment of EMR Advantage, and a non-infrastructure investment in the healthcare system in anticipation of the transfer of services to the New National Hospital in 2025.
Currently, 1,000 records at the Medical Records Department have been uploaded into the new, secure digitised system. Concurrently, historical patient records at the St. John’s Health Centre will begin in November, with a view to completing the conversion of the records in the Casualty Department as well as the other health centres in 2023.
Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health & Social Services, Dr Sharra Greenaway-Duberry said: “This is a great milestone for the Ministry of Health & Social Services, and we are excited about transitioning into this contemporary way of managing patient information. Our overall endeavour is to improve the quality of care for people in Montserrat, and this is the first step in changing to a modern, and more efficient health service.”
The digitisation process is being undertaken by a local team, managed by Project Officer, Jevon West, and under the leadership of Project Manager for Health Service Transformation, Mary Miller Sallah.
Head of the Programme Management Office, Martin Parlett said, “With the New National Hospital Project underway, it is vital to recognise that true healthcare reform in Montserrat will only be achieved through a parallel process of system-wide strengthening and transformation. The workstream to create a new digital health information system will provide myriad benefits – including greater efficiency and accessibility of records, better integration and availability of patient data, and patient traceability. The team deserves much credit for working hard over the last weeks to achieve this milestone.”
Upon completion of the digitisation of historical records and complete deployment, including administrative and clinical user training, the Ministry of Health & Social Services will be able to provide a more effective health information system that will reduce the time spent on manual searches, improve the proficiency of the service offered to the public, while reducing the duplication of records throughout the healthcare system. These records will then be accessible from any public healthcare facility throughout the island via a singular network. Each patient will be assigned a unique patient identification number, with a separate record dedicated to everyone.
This phase in the transformation of the health service is one of the instrumental pillars in complementary non-infrastructure modernisation of the health system and in preparation of the New National Hospital. Other non-infrastructure elements include the new critical life-safety equipment, health finance reform, preparation for telemedicine, and increased training and capacity building for all levels of staff within the public healthcare system.
This Health Information System project commenced in September 2022 and is due for completion by the end of 2023.
Subsequent to the full digitisation of the patient record system, the hardcopy records will be retained for a fixed period of time before discarding, as per legal requirements.