Cambio stresses on need for advanced technology in healthcare in Sri Lanka

Saturday, 22 June 2013 03:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Information technology is revolutionising every industry in the world, including healthcare administration. It is now time for the Sri Lankan healthcare industry to also take the first steps towards a brave new world where information technology is the cornerstone of the industry, providing vital strategic and operational benefits rather than a mere support role in the background. Stressing the need for advanced technology in such an essential industry was Product Development Operations Manager of Cambio Healthcare Systems Sri Lanka, Radika Jayaweera. Cambio Healthcare Systems is currently Sweden’s largest and fastest growing healthcare system and one of the largest e-Health providers in the market Jayaweera explained that healthcare globally is significantly affected by technological advancements, as it both shapes and changes healthcare systems. “Technology in healthcare can improve efficiency, make patient records more accessible, increase professional communication, create global health networking, and increase access to healthcare. Most district hospitals in Sri Lanka have no access to software that will help them with patient-centric records, tracking of medical records or information or any backup systems. Everything is handled manually,” she said. Jayaweera proposed: “The first step is to build broad industry awareness and recognition on how technology can play a pivotal role in revolutionising our healthcare and to construct a vision on what standards and capabilities need to be achieved. Secondly, we need to study on how change will be implemented in the industry and what the best solutions are for the hospitals, taking into account various constraints such as infrastructure and IT education, as well as changes needed for the healthcare administration process in hospitals. “The involvement of the Government in this is vital to ensure conformance to a national healthcare IT policy and also to drive, facilitate and host the right kind of experts to conduct such a study and make recommendations on where we should take our healthcare using information technology.” How this technology can optimise patient care is what Cambio has been concentrating and building on for the last few years. Benefits from Cambio are currently enjoyed by hospitals in Europe that have managed not only to reduce their costs but also have contributed tremendously to minimising risks associated with patient care. “Therefore I am of the opinion that it is time that the adoption of such initiatives take place in the Sri Lankan healthcare systems as well,” Jayaweera said. She stressed that at present, there seem to be isolated attempts on this aspect from some healthcare practitioners, while amongst others, there seems to be a lack of knowledge and interest. The core areas to concentrate on include resource mobilisation, technical assistance and training, organisational governance, management systems, and technical expertise. “You need to identify the priority needs, design a capacity building plan based on those needs, and monitor the implementation of the plan continuously.” “Assessing the cost-effectiveness and the benefits of new technologies is a major challenge to all health care policymakers,” she acknowledged. “How could we rationalise the selection and adoption of healthcare technology in a low income country such as ours? This may be by the collaboration between medical professionals and IT professionals who are expertise in providing solutions in the Healthcare industry. This can be done by identifying and providing the correct technology, with the national health system putting the right systems in place.” “Cambio Healthcare Systems can provide great assistance in this regard and Sri Lanka stands to benefit greatly,” Jayaweera assured. Cambio has currently sold approximately 85,000 licenses worldwide and its systems are used by doctors, nurses and administrative staff daily at hospitals, teaching hospitals, medical centres and specialist units all over Europe. “With Cambio, IT professionals in Sri Lanka being successfully engaged in providing such solutions to Europe, it wouldn’t be challenging for them to provide their support on implementing the  same in their own country,  as they are more familiar with Sri Lanka healthcare process,” she concluded.