The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) has launched what is reported to be the first Military Electronic Health Information Network (MeHIN) in South America which is designed to aid efficient and accurate reporting to measure the impact of medical programmes.
The introduction was done at the GDF’s Medical Corps at Base Camp Ayanganna on February 27, a press statement from the army said. The MeHIN will promote efficient, accurate and timely reporting to measure the impact of medical programmes, enable cost and security efficiencies of personnel and operations management, and improve clinical care and treatment by allowing authorised users easy access to medical record information and aid in the professional development of the arm’s medical personnel. The MeHIN will be known as the Military Health Information System or MHIS.
In his remarks, Colonel Administration and Quartering Captain (CG) John Flores said the acquisition of the technological resources and training to facilitate the project has been in the pipeline for a few years. “The Force recognised that, it needed a more efficient mechanism for the management of patient care including records management and security, over what it had been doing traditionally. The acquisition of the technological resources as well as the necessary training of our staff means that the GDF has now moved into twenty-first century medical management mode,” he said.
Senior Health Informatics Advisor Mary Kratz, of the US Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (DHAPP) said the GDF is to be “…commended for their leadership to Guyana and the Region….” She explained that, among other things MeHIN will support the tracking of HIV services such as prevention, counselling and testing as well as care services provided by the GDF. She said the GDF has now joined 11 other “military partners” from the Caribbean, Africa and Central America that participate in the MeHIN. “I welcome the GDF to the Military eHealth Community and look forward to continual improvements to MHIS through the shared contributions of military medical partners to drive the requirements of services provided by both public and private partners.
Kratz, together with Director of Global Health Informatics Systems for Vista Life Sciences Inc Brian Mayo spent the last two weeks training the GDF Medical Corps staff, key GDF administrative personnel as well as GDF ICT personnel on the hardware and software used by the MHIS. During this period the MHIS was also deployed and practitioners gained practical exposure to use the system. The GDF MHIS currently comprises 14 user computers, one large computer server, robust security mechanisms, Electronic Medical Record Software and is ready to host an eLibrary of medical references. It also contains 36 user accounts across the GDF sites/locations.
Captain Flores thanked the US DHAPP, the US DOD Security Cooperation Office Commander Robert Novotny, Kratz and Mayo for facilitating the programme in the GDF. “Being the first military in South America to acquire this technology and the requisite skills is significant….The GDF will not however wish to rest on this achievement but will lead the way in aiding the national health infrastructure to develop similar capabilities as our MHIS will deliver for us,” he said.
Mary Kratz (third from left in front row) is seen with GDF Medical Corps staff who were trained and others. (GDF photo)