#Nassau, November 12, 2019 – Bahamas – Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Duane Sands said the health system in The Bahamas has been paper-based for decades, but in this 21st century, the country needs to be further along.
“The vision of the Ministry of Health is to implement a cost effective Health Information Management System, inclusive of an Electronic Medical Records system to ensure timely access to and coding of information, rivaling that in place in our private sector and in leading jurisdictions,” Dr. Sands explained during the First Annual Medical Coding Symposium held at the British Colonial Hilton, Friday, November 8, 2019.
He said the Ministry of Health is engaged with the Pan American Health Organization to strengthen data management in primary care clinics.
“This project aims to transition hospital and national health records into electronic formats. Outputs expected are improved administrative efficiency, integration of data across diverse recording platforms and better portability of records.”
Dr. Sands added that to achieve the Ministry’s goals, the healthcare system requires a new cadre of health care workers who would need to be equipped with the competencies and skill sets to strengthen the management of health data and monitor and evaluate health care being provided, i.e. coders are needed.
He stated that like the complexities of the health care system, health care data collection from the various Government, Non-Government and Private Sector entities is not static. Therefore, continuous restructuring, integration, innovation and realignment to achieve goals and objectives is required.
He noted that Medical Coders are professionals with a specialty of Medical Coding and are a part of the wider field of health care administrators. “You are trained and certified to translate medical information generated by Physicians, Nurses, Therapists, Technicians and other health care providers.”
The Health Minister said, “Your knowledge and skills is essential to Statisticians, Researchers, Public Health Officials as well as Internal Auditors. You are aware of the many ramifications that poor or inaccurate coding can cause to fiscal health, a health institute or public policy as a whole.”
He told the medical coders that it is therefore essential that they use the symposium to promote and highlight the benefits that their profession can bring to the health, wellbeing and the quality of care provided in The Bahamas.
The Health Minister explained that codes create the ability to review and use data with greater specificity regarding clinical conditions and services.
He added that codes also provide payers, policy makers and providers, with better information to design and implement a pay-for-performance programme and decrease opportunities for fraud, under performance and better use for resources including investment.
By Llonella Gilbert
Photo Caption: Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Duane Sands brought remarks at the First Annual Medical Coding Symposium held at the British Colonial Hilton, Friday, November 8, 2019.
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)