A national e-health project and bio-surveillance system which links public hospitals and clinics within the country to a common database has been launched by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
The introduction of the e-health system is expected to end the movement of folders across departments in various health institutions and allow doctors and administrators access to information for effective health delivery.
The platform also comes with an enhanced physical infrastructure and facilities to enable the Centre for Health Information Management and the Disease Surveillance Unit of the Ghana Health Service come together to perform comprehensive surveillance functions for the country.
Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, speaking at the launch of the project at the Trauma and Specialist Hospital in Winneba, Central Region, stated that digitising the health sector through e-health solutions would not only modernise healthcare in Ghana but would also increase the nation's competitiveness in the area of medical tourism.
“Today, we in Ghana have decided to take the bold step of deploying technology to take on the challenges of universal health coverage, the health status we deserve as a country,” she disclosed.
Mrs Osei-Opare also urged health providers to ensure best practice policies and procedures were well established to encourage innovation and development, stressing that “we need to promote the development of standards to guide training and help the integration and application of computing, information and telecommunication technology the system offers.”
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu mentioned that the system integrates with the current National Health Insurance System (NHIS), which enables it to function in real-time validation and submission of patient billing for reimbursement thereby providing the ability to detect fake NHIS cards and fraudulent claims.
“The vision of e-health is well captured in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) manifesto, and so it is just a matter of time for the full potential of that promise to be delivered. In our manifesto, we assured Ghanaians that we would utilise the best in technology and health insurance management protocols to tackle waste, corruption and insurance claims fraud under the NHIS.
This, we said, would include completely phasing out the manual processing of claims which currently stands at about 90 percent, tightly linking services and drugs to hospital attendance and treatment to diagnosis.
The system is currently operational in 26 health institutions across the country.