By Caribbean Medical News Staff

Chief Executive Officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados says that the island is making rapid progress with the use of its ICT technology when incorporated into patient care.

According to Dr Dexter James, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital has developed its information and communication technology capabilities and capacity for telemedicine into the QEH’s diagnostic services. These services include radiology and pathology among others.

He made his remarks at the Official Opening of the Shaw Family Telemedicine Room at the University of the West Indies’ Clinical Skills Building at Jemmott’s Lane in Bridgetown.

“In the case of radiology, all images are now in digital format and through our picture archiving and communications system, physicians can remotely access, view, read, report and consult on images on a real time basis”, he said.

James also said that opportunities abound for the use of telemedicine also in tele-ophthalmology and video telephony and indicated that the island needed to continue to move access to quality health care forward by exploiting new avenues in the information and communications technology framework.

“This is where we can put the enabling infrastructure for telemedicine also at our polyclinics and from a remote location our doctors and nurses and ancillary staff can access a wide range of information while on ward rounds, at the said polyclinic, at the A& E (Accident and Emergency) and can consult on CT and other diagnostic information to make immediate and informed decisions”, he added.

“Radiologist are graduating at a rate of between three and four per cent annually. The demand for radiologists worldwide is about ten per cent and the demand outstrips the supply. The question is how do small islands access the capacity of radiologists without physically having a radiologist on sit”, he said.

According to James continuing exploration and exploiting the benefits of information and communications technology “will provide for us all”.

The new facility was made possible  by donations from the Barbados lead donor Leslois Shaw Foundation, in partnership with Scotiabank,  will also give priority to children with cancer and blood disorders  through the ability of local doctors to have real-time communication with doctors based at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, according to Dr. Victor Blanchette, Haematologist, the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and McCaig Family Medical Director, SickKids-Caribbean Initiative.

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