Lagos State has taken a giant stride towards leveraging technology to deliver smart and efficient healthcare services to citizens of the state. The Governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu pledged that the State government will deploy technology to aid precisive, faster and smarter healthcare services in all healthcare facilities as a means of achieving its Health and Environment mandate.
The Governor made this revelation at the opening ceremony of a 3-Day Smart Health Technical Symposium on e-Health themed “Lagos State Smart Health Information Platform (SHIP)” organized by the state’s Ministry of Health.
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, stressed that SHIP will enable the state have a single source of truth, a data base which would aid effective and efficient planning of health projects across the state. He further disclosed that the present administration is currently working on a 3000km of fiber optic network which allows accessible network to all hospitals and public agencies.
“It is important for us to establish and strengthen our health information platform as this will positively impact on our various health care system, health financing through our universal health coverage, biosecurity, biosafety which will also lead to employment opportunities while opening doors for international collaboration”, the Governor said
The State’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the digital health platform would eradicate a myriad of barriers to quality healthcare and strengthen the State’s one healthcare record policy. Considering limitations to quality healthcare occasioned by significant resource constraints, Prof. Abayomi noted that e-health would aid precision medicine, accelerated human resource development, quality assurance, standardize exchange of information, accountability, inventory management, training, speed of information and optimize operating procedures.
Prof. Abayomi added that the ministry will partner with other ministries, communities, healthcare professionals, private sector, and international organizations to develop an e-health business model for Lagosians not only to deliver a faster healthcare system but also as an income generating strategy.
In his words “This is the beginning. There are multiple stakeholders. If we are collecting data on patients, we need to protect that data. We can’t just move data around because it’s a data that belong to human beings. It’s not just data on the number of cars moving around in Lagos. These are human data. There is a need to operate under privacy laws. We need to establish the governance. Then we need to look at hardware, IT platforms and then ofcourse the readiness of the environment to take up digital healthcare.”
In his speech to the health congregation, the State’s Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hon. Hakeem Popoola Fahm, averred that the purpose of Health ICT is to build stronger health systems through design and implementation of data-driven solutions which respond to local needs and provide underserved communities with tools they need for their lives. While noting that the objective of SHIP is to use technology to drive the economy and healthy infrastructure development of the state and make Lagos the technology frontier in Africa, he listed the types of healthcare information systems to include operational and practical systems, clinical and administrative systems for managing patients’ details on an administrative level, subject and fact-based level such as Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) or Electronic Health Records (EHRs).
“E-Health is probably the largest wind of change in healthcare. The coming of E-Health can be seen as a paradigm shift with the aim of providing patients with increased access over their health situation by emphasizing patient authorization, patient transparency and patient empowerment. The digital Health period is moving fast and this new innovation that determines how healthcare are designed, deployed, and measured.” He noted
The Health Insurance Mayor of Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), Mrs. Peju Adenusi said the e-health conference was very timely and relevant, considering the population size of the state. According to her, the SHIP would ignite opportunities for collaboration to enhance LASHMA’s performance, awareness creation, sensitization, and supply.
“The only way you can efficiently cover almost 23 million people is through digital means. We have already gone digital. For us, this is very important because we have already keyed into this vision. The whole operation of LASHMA is paperless in the sense that right from the point of registration to when LASHMA has to pay for the services that our providers have rendered, it is all automated.”
She concluded that the bottom line of e-health is getting quality data for making good analysis and planning healthcare delivery in Lagos State.