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National Assembly

Patient records to be digitised by January 2020 | 03 July 2019

Patients’ medical records will soon be digital as the Ministry of Health follows through with the project to digitise all patient records across national health centres and hospitals.

Minister for Health Jean-Paul Adam provided details on the project when he appeared before the National Assembly yesterday morning to address questions pertaining to his portfolio.

According to Minister Adam, the process to digitise patients’ records commenced in 2011 but following numerous delays, the project is underway and is expected to be completed by January 2020.

The process to acquire the necessary software for the project is being eased through a line of credit with Exim Bank, India and the government of India. Following a call for proposals and tender issued by the Ministry of Health in 2017, the contract was awarded to Indian company Manorama to provide the software on which patients’ confidential medical records will be kept for access by health professionals based on individual patients’ National Identification Numbers (NIN).

Minister Adam explained that the process is in the finalisation stage following a letter from the Tender Appeals Board dated June 24, 2019, giving the ministry the go-ahead to implement the project with the company awarded the contract, Manorama.

Implementation of the project requires both software and hardware to be acquired by the government. The ministry has budgeted R36.2 million for the software and a further R22.5 million for the hardware including computers and servers. A tender for the acquisition of the equipment will be issued soon, said Minister Adam. He also stated that installation and customisation is supposed to last until August 2020.

Responding to numerous questions about the condition and use worthiness of hospital equipment, Minister Adam stated that all equipment donated to the ministry has to adhere to strict international standards.

“It is in our plan to eventually introduce an X-ray service in all our regional centres. This will be useful when there are renovations on health centres and other diagnostic equipment to allow for more tests to be carried out in health centres and if the equipment is mobile, it facilitates more services in our communities,” Minister Adam stated.

He further asserted that equipment is regularly serviced by international experts.

Only accessed by healthcare professionals, different levels of access to different levels of staff. A patient will also have access to their own records in future, not in the first phase but in future but in a way as to preserve confidentiality.

Responding to questions pertaining to alleged delays before a patient sees a specialist, Minister Adam noted that more specialists are being recruited especially in fields where the need and demand is higher such as cardiology.

Furthermore, Minister Adam stated that the ministry is working on a pool-procurement strategy with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other small states in order to benefit from cost-savings when purchasing combination treatments for vaccines and other medications.

An urgent question was raised by Honourable Clive Roucou who questioned when the roofing on the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Seychelles hospital will be fixed. Honourable Roucou remarked that the roof leaks when there is heavy rainfall, causing patients to be in discomfort.

“A decision was taken in April 2019 to place a seal around the roof, as moving the ICU will be a difficult job. True, since April, the seal helped at first but we saw that the leaks are persisting and a team was instructed to carry out an assessment of the situation at ICU. We have to move the ICU to the female medical ward which has been renovated and completed, for renovations on the roofing and ceiling and other components,” Minister Adam said.

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