Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
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Tele-ambulance services being introduced

Minister of Health Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that the Public Hospitals Authority is very close to furthering e-health in New Providence with its tele-ambulance services, which will facilitate faster, more responsive medical assistance and hospital care to members of the public.

According to the health minister, this latest advancement in electronic healthcare will allow emergency service personnel and technicians to monitor what occurs inside an ambulance while en route in real time.

Minnis told The Nassau Guardian that the program was supposed to be operational last year, but only recently has the technology been available in The Bahamas with the rollout of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s 4G network, which is necessary to facilitate a live video link.

“Now that 4G is in, I am sure we will be able to get the video link,” said Minnis at the official launch of the 4G network on Monday.

“This would enable the ambulance personnel go out, be it in victims’ homes or to a car accident or whatever, to assess the patients there.  That is, the emergency room staff would be able to examine patients without having to go the person themselves.”

Tele-ambulance services will also allow emergency medical services personnel to communicate patient needs to emergency service technicians in the hospital through a live video link, noted Minnis.

However, administrating treatment and/or medication would begin “right on the scene”.

Minnis said that a patient’s home could therefore be used as a hospital room, which will decrease the number of patients that need to be brought to the hospital.

The minister did not provide the cost details associated with the program but said, “It is not expensive, the training itself is not expensive… and it’s less than tele-medicine [services], which was less than $100,000.”

Minnis indicated that e-health services require additional, trained personnel.

“I know we will be very successful with the tele-ambulance services once we establish a department so that we can move forward,” Minnis said.

He added that further upgrades to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) would be assessed on a “needs basis”.

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