In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce crowds at clinics, doctor’s offices and hospitals, the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has accelerated the introduction of its telehealth platform.
NHI Managing Director Graham Whitmarsh said the goal of the program is to limit in-person medical interactions.
“The medical staff in hospitals, as they get patients who have been unfortunate enough to be infected with COVID-19 and have to be hospitalized, we want them to be able to focus on that care rather than treating individuals who might have very mild symptoms and who the best advice is they should quarantine themselves and monitor at home,” he said.
“And so we’re really supporting those patients who are not in the hospital, which is going to be the vast majority of individuals who are unfortunate enough to get the infection.”
So far, Whitmarsh said 11 of the New Providence’s public clinics have introduced telehealth.
He said the remaining clinics are expected to introduce the platform within the next few days.
So far, four people have tested positive for COVID-19 in The Bahamas.
Whitmarsh said NHI’s telehealth platform will assist in the efforts, noting how people can receive care online or over the phone.
“For individuals who are either a private patient seeing a doctor at those clinics or an NHI beneficiary at those clinics, they can access it using a smartphone and a tablet,” he said.
“They’ll have to download an application called Healow.
“That information can be gained by calling the clinic as well. They download that app. That app allows them to set appointments and actually conduct the visit. The visit is done securely. It’s done within the technical architecture of the electronic health record. They can also do it by logging in online on a computer.
“But what I would suggest is, an individual of any one of those 16 clinics who think that they’d like to get care by telehealth, to call that clinic and they’ll get instruction on how to receive care.”