Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 28, 2017 (SKNIS): The safe storage of patients’ records has been touted as a major feature in the implementation of the Hospital Information System (HIS), which was officially handed over by the Resident Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), George Gow Wei Chiou, to the Ministry of Health in St. Kitts and Nevis during a ceremony on Wednesday (December 27).
The HIS has been operational for the past six months, primarily at the Joseph N. France General Hospital, digitally capturing and storing a patient’s data from body temperature at the time of examination, and medication doses, to specific allergies and medical conditions. Technicians and other experts have performed alterations to the system to address any challenges and make modifications based on advice from stakeholders.

Minister of State responsible for Health, Honourable Wendy Phipps, said “the HIS will protect the data of patients and provide a backup system “knowing of course that we live in a jurisdiction that is susceptible to hurricanes where hard paper records are always open to the vagaries of the weather.”

The digital data storage also ensures that the information has greater protection from hazards such as fire and floods.

Minister Phipps added that the system “is a testimony to our ability to render care to patients in a fast and efficient manner and in the process reduce our footprint in terms of our impact on the environment in terms of moving more and more to a paperless environment.”

As for the digital security aspects, government’s ICT Policy Advisor, Pierre Bowrin, said that “measures that fall within the realm of confidentiality, integrity and availability have been addressed between the Department of Technology and the consultants who designed the programme.”

He said only authorized persons can input data on the system and each entry leaves a trail that can be traced back to the user. This will help to ensure that errors are minimized. Additionally, the authorized users will only have access to the specific modules related to their task. Mr. Bowrin confirmed that a number of instruments are in place to monitor and protect against external intrusions, and ongoing reviews will take place periodically to sure up protections.

Minister Phipps said that she was looking forward to the continued expansion of the HIS to other health institutions in St. Kitts and Nevis. The ultimate aim she disclosed was to “get to the level of first world nations where we would actually have the same [medical] data basically on a wristband for patients so that everything that is done to or for that patient can be scanned immediately so that you know in real time who would have treated that patient last, what they would have had done to them, what was their temperature reading, and blood pressure checks, … even from a remote location.”

Until then, patients will be presented with machine readable cards that store the information. More than 3,000 of these cards have been issued to date.