Public healthcare sector “behind the eightball” on electronic records, says minister

Public healthcare sector “behind the eightball” on electronic records, says minister
Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands.
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamian public healthcare sector is “behind the eight ball” and needs to “catch up” regarding the implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said yesterday.
Sands noted that the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) is investigating the Allscripts deal.
The Chicago-based company had been contracted for an $18 million integrated health information system back in 2016.
According to Sands, the company never delivered, resulting in millions of taxpayers funds being lost.
“We would have spent $7 perhaps $8 million and there is not a single line of code that has been downloaded onto a PHA computer. We do not have an electronic medical record. It is quite disconcerting that many years after the fact we have little to show for signing this contract and we basically have to start over,” Dr Sands said ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“We don’t have an electronic medical record in the public sector. We do in the private sector. NHI has rolled out their electronic medical record. We are behind the eight ball and we need to catch up,” said Sands.
Opposition Health spokesman Dr Michael Darville on Tuesday said the former administration would make no apologies for the Allscripts deal.
Darville was responding to a Tribune article, which suggested millions had been lost in a failed deal arranged under the former Christie administration with the IT provider.
“The Allscripts contract was awarded according to all due processes and there is no truth of the fact that the company got special privileges in the bidding process,” Darville said.
“Contrary to The Tribune story, Allscripts did not submit their bid late and it was done in accordance with all the appropriate rules of the Board.”
Darville said the purpose of the Allscripts deal was to “modernize the public healthcare system to produce a single medical record, improve supply chains, revenue cycle management services by computerizing the administrative arms of the Princess Margaret hospital, the Rand Memorial Hospital and clinics”.
Dr Sands yesterday seemed to call into question Dr Darville’s knowledge of the situation, pointing out that he was never the substantive minister of health.
Still, Dr Sands noted that government must move forward with the establishment of an electronic health record.
“We realize we have to move forward. We have the added support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and and PAHO. We have agreed to be a part of a pilot program for island developing states and small Caribbean nations who need to catapult themselves into the realm of the electronic medical record,” said Sands.
He underscored making a patient’s medical records easily accessible allows for real time billing, reduces the liklihood of waste and improves the quality of healthcare a person receives.