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St. Maarten's health care challenges dissected at seminar


PHILIPSBURG – Challenges being faced in the healthcare sector were dissected at KPMG’s healthcare session themed:  “Aligning the St. Maarten  Healthcare chain, centering  the patient” at the Holland  Beach House Hotel on  June 26.  The evening started off with two presentations by KPMG Global Healthcare  experts: Asharaf Shehata,  Partner IT Health, Global Center of Excellence  (USA) and David Ikkersheim, Associate Director,  Global Healthcare Expert  Center (Netherlands).  Shehata presented insights  on IT trends in healthcare  all over the world and was  followed by Ikkersheim’s  presentation on how to  improve and attract health  workforce.

The facts and insights  given by these experts led  to in-depth discussions,  mainly about an IT strategy for St. Maarten. IT is  an important enabler for  transforming healthcare by  focusing on value and quality of care instead focusing  on the cost and volume.  KPMG shared its vision  on a stepped adaption of a  health information system  for St. Maarten in which  data will be shared between  different organisations. In  discussion with the participants, a mind shift was  made on the approach for  health IT “It is not necessary to invest in building a whole  new health information  system from scratch, but  use existing information  systems to build a big data  system, based on cloud  services, which enables different healthcare organisations to share important  information,” said Shehata.

“This means that instead of  legislating one health information system, which every  health organisation must  comply with, standards and  regulation for sharing data  should be developed,” added Ronald Pieters, Director  of the St. Maarten office of  KPMG.  This also means that every organisation can keep  working with their own  health information system.  Eventually, the output of  this big data system will  forecast and predict trends  in healthcare. “It is important that this IT model is  built to benefit the patient’s  needs and improve the  quality of healthcare delivery. This has proven to ultimately lower the costs as  well.  “The success rate of similar systems is seen in different countries in Europe,  the USA and Asia. A remarkable advantage of this  system is that it could be  implemented much faster  than when building a new  information system,” stated  Martina Bartelink, Manager Advisory at KPMG in St.  Maarten.

KPMG said one of the  most important conclusions  was that all healthcare players need to collaborate to  realise the goal of successfully integrating IT in the  healthcare system. “The  presence of the diverse  group of healthcare actors  made it possible to shed  light on different point of  views in this meaningful dialogue about the future of  healthcare in St. Maarten.  This resulted in a shared  vision on the next steps for  developing and implementing an IT healthcare strategy for St. Maarten,” it was  stated in the release.

Attendees included  Health Minister Cornelius de Weever, directors  and other representatives of health, Social and  Health Insurance SZV, St.  Maarten Medical Center  (SMMC), Louis Constant  Fleming Medical Center St.  Martin, the Mental Health  Foundation (MHF), policy  workers and healthcare  professionals.  KPMG said the session  provided a unique setting in which stakeholders  shared their insights on the  biggest challenges and opportunities in healthcare  on the island. They also  discussed how to surpass  the existing barriers and  focus more on value and  quality of care.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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