Canadian Information Technology helps Jamaica score world first in health care


For Immediate Release, November 15, 2001

Markham, Ontario, Canada - Using Canadian information technology, Jamaica is now the first country to implement a countrywide standardized electronic patient administration system for its hospitals and clinics. The Jamaica-wide standardization will enable the government and various health agencies to accurately track illnesses and injuries for the entire population.

The Government of Jamaica recently signed off on Phase II of the successful implementation of Markham-based Heron Technology Corporation's Patient Administration System now operational in 11 Government hospitals, for a total of 2,500 beds. The Government has contracted with Heron Technology Corporation to complete the implementation in all 23 Government hospitals, 4,700 beds in total, and some 300 clinics. Through the Canadian Commercial Corporation, of Ottawa, the Canadian Government guaranteed the contract, valued at $CDN1.5 Million.

The Patient Administration System used in Jamaica comprises nine modules: Central Patient Index, Community Central Patient Index for the entire country, Admit/Discharge/Transfer, Outpatients Registration, Accident and Emergency; Health Records Abstracting for the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) coding, Billing and Accounts Receivable; Surveillance for Injuries and Illnesses (such as asthma), and Report Writer.

Partially funded by the World Bank/Inter-American Development Bank, the Jamaican project is the world body's first successful, fully operational health care information technology implementation.

Jamaica's Permanent Secretary of Health, George Briggs, said, "It was really thrilling to learn all was finished and the system is on line at all locations. I believe that the exercise demonstrated the value of shared objectives and supportive teamwork in getting a difficult task done."

Dr. Elizabeth Ward, Chief of Epidemiology, Jamaica Ministry of Health said that, "With the standardized Patient Administration System we can now extend the Jamaica Injury Surveillance System to enable the Ministry to track and report on asthma, as well as injuries. The Ministry sees this as a means to facilitate surveillance of hospital patients and specific diseases."

In development since 1998, the Jamaica Injury Surveillance System project involved close collaboration between the Jamaica Ministry of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control [CDC], Atlanta, Georgia, the University Hospital of the West Indies, Caribbean Epidemiology Centre [CAREC], Trinidad & Tobago, and Heron Technology Corporation.

Ron Hébert, Chairman of Heron Technology Corporation, said that the project is being undertaken with close attention to the health care budget of Jamaica because HTC's products and services are priced according to the GDP per capita of each country. "Because the desktop devices are thin-clients, and the operating system is the open source Linux, we level the economic playing field for all countries interested in computerizing their health care systems", Hébert said.

More information contact:
Heron Technology Corporation []
Ron Hébert, Chairman
Phone: (905) 475 8050
Fax: (905) 475 5842 e-mail: [email protected]

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