The Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), has emphasized the need for both the public and private sectors to deploy global technologies to transform the nation’s economy.According to the chamber, developed economies of the world have moved on to deploying the use of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), to increase productivity and human capacity development, and Nigeria cannot afford to lag.
The President, NACC, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, at the chamber’s breakfast meeting, themed, “Improving Quality Outcomes through Health Information Technology,” explained that strategically incorporating ICT tools in transforming different sectors of the economy is the way to go to change the Nigerian narrative.He said deploying ICT tools in healthcare delivery, for instance, will improve healthcare quality and safety, increase the efficiency and public health service delivery, improve the public health information infrastructure, support care in the community and at home, facilitate clinical and consumer decision-making, and build health skills and knowledge.
“This topic is significant in many ways; it is becoming increasingly clear that the traditional way of solving health problems is becoming dated so there is the need for quality investment in information technology in the health care sector to improve healthcare delivery,” he said.
According to him, effective use of communication and technology by healthcare and public health professionals can bring about an age of patient-and-public-centred health information and services in Nigeria. He expressed worry about the lack of adequate funding that has deepened the crisis in health-care delivery in developing countries, particularly Nigeria, but stressed that with access to proven and powerful information and communication technologies, the nation can improve health indicators.He noted that with the significant growth in Internet access in the urban areas; health-care workers can adopt its usage for communication, access to relevant healthcare information, and international collaboration.
“ICT can improve the quality of care patients receive by averting medical errors, improving communication and boosting efficiency. To generate substantial and ongoing improvement in healthcare, the adoption of information technology is paramount and will lead to a more robust healthcare system,” he added.
He said the chamber would also inaugurate its Heathcare Sector Group, chaired by Dr. Ladi Awosika, pointing out that the idea behind having sector-focused groups is to provide a platform for engagement for member companies within the same industry. This will enable connected and vibrant networks to work in collaboration, undertake sector-focused advocacy, and grow together with support from the Secretariat.
Also speaking, the National President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Faduyile, identified some of the advantages of using ICT in improving health outcomes as sharing health images, sharing of patient record, supporting clinicians through improved access to data, and best practices for care, contribution to patient safety through tools such as medication reconciliation
He added that most contemporary issues on health information and technology in Nigeria is that most healthcare settings in Nigeria are predominantly on paper-based health information systems, maintaining that clinical documentation in the prevailing manually operated system has been reported to be sub optimal and providers have been reported to lack the right computing skills relative to their responsibilities
He said going forward, there should be focus of the 21st-Century healthcare system must be the patient, stressing that such a system will ensure that patients have access to the safest and highest-quality care, regardless of how much they earn, where they live, how sick they are, or the colour of their skin.
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