Guyana is forging ahead with adopting the SMART hospital initiative which Minister within the Public Health Ministry, Dr. Karen Cummings, said is a “new way of delivering healthcare in the 21st century.”
The novel healthcare strategy seeks to improve the productivity and efficiency of hospitals in a bid to reduce their operational costs and, in the private sector, help to improve their margins.
The SMART hospital plan is rapidly becoming necessary since patients are quickly evolving into consumers and are demanding optimal ‘customer satisfaction’. This is a challenge for the healthcare industry.
Minister Cummings must have had this revolution in mind yesterday when she told a public consultation involving residents of Diamond/Grove and the surrounding communities on the East Bank corridor that “Our SMART Hospital strategy aims to redefine the care processes, operational procedures and redesigning physical infrastructure to drive a new way of delivering best quality public healthcare.”
“The purpose of this SMART environment is to improve existing procedures for the provision of advanced means of medical care, and to open up new opportunities for medicine,” Dr. Cummings told participants.
Yesterday’s public consultation included the UK-based Department For International Development [DFID]; the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation [PAHO/WHO], the Public Health Ministry, and the design firms NU Vision and ANONYMART Architecture.
The latter is contracted to redesign the Diamond Diagnostic Centre; the Leonora Cottage Hospital, Lethem Regional Hospital, Mabaruma District Hospital and Paramakatoi Health Centre under the financially-backed DFID plan.
SMART Hospitals are increasingly viewed as being at the intersection of medicine, information, health, and business using information, communication and technology [ICT] to support healthcare programmes, Dr. Cummings said.
Two years ago, Guyana embarked on the SMART hospitals programme which includes retrofitting existing identified health structures making them resilient to the vagaries of nature including natural disasters.
Because of these advantages, PAHO/WHO Guyana Representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow, said yesterday that that the SMART concept should be universalised in the Guyanese health care system to ensure all are functional during and after severe crises.
Dr. Adu-Krow noted that equity, solidarity, respect for all and integrity in health services provision in the SMART programme dovetail neatly with PAHO/WHO’s work plan and the hemispheric and global body will maintain its support for the improvement plan monetised by DFID.
When he spoke acting British High Commissioner Ray Davidson pointed to several initiatives undertaken in the past two years to help the programme succeed. These include, trained of personnel to apply the Hospital Safety Index [HIS] and Green Checklist Standards; using the HIS and Green Checklist Standards to shortlist the healthcare facilities for retrofitting; and seminars for contractors.
The Diamond Diagnostic Centre and the other four facilities will go Green in keeping with President David Granger’s Green State Initiative. Under the Presidential vision, “our energy sources must be renewable, so that we will be soon offering public healthcare at this Diamond Diagnostic Centre with a reduced carbon footprint,” Dr. Cummings said.
It is imperative that when health facilities are constructed they adopt measures that will essentially make them ‘smart’. According to WHO, health care facilities are ‘smart’ when they link their structural and operational safety with green interventions at a reasonable cost-to-benefit ratio.
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