By Naomi Uzor
The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has urged Nigerians to adopt health information technology system in driving health care delivery in Nigeria.
Disclosing this at the March Breakfast meeting of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), tagged ” Improving Quality Outcomes through Health Information Technology”, the National President, NMA, Dr. Francis Faduyile said the introduction of the usefulness of health information technology system in Nigeria’s health systems in medical curricula at all levels is important.
“There is need for collaboration between relevant agencies and professional associations such as information technology, health and NMA, PSN, NANNM and other stakeholders to ensure the full deployment of information technology in the health sector in Nigeria. We must encourage local capacity building in the deployment of information technology in the health sector. This will enhance the development access and maintenance of the system” he said.
He noted that the role of private sector and agencies such as NACC in funding the advocacy, training of health providers, the deployment and maintenance of information technology systems in the health sectors can not be over emphasised.
“Today, Health Information Management and Technology (HIMT) professionals must have a deep understanding of not only the management of health data, but also the software and systems needed to manage and analyze data. There are many demerits of these new technologies use in health care deliveries, we must continue to ensure patients confidentiality and to properly guard the data” he stated.
He said there is therefore need to have a stringent and detailed legislations to control this very important technological advancement that is imminent in medical practice here in Nigeria.
The President of NACC, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe said the topic was significant in many ways as it is becoming increasingly clear that the traditional way of solving health problems is becoming dated so there is the need for quality investment in information technology in the health care sector to improve healthcare delivery.
“Effective use of communication and technology by health care and public health professionals can bring about an age of patient- and public-centered health information and services in Nigeria.
By strategically incorporating ICT tools into health care delivery there is the potential to: improve health care quality and safety, increase the efficiency of health care and public health service delivery, improve the public health information infrastructure, support care in the community and at home, facilitate clinical and consumer decision-making and build health skills and knowledge” he said.
According to him, lack of adequate funding has deepened the crisis in health-care delivery in developing countries, particularly Nigeria. But I do believe access to proven and powerful information and communication technologies can improve health indicators. With the significant growth in Internet access in urban areas; health-care workers can adopt its usage for communication, access to relevant health-care information, and international collaboration.