The City of Johannesburg, the Gauteng Department of Health (DoH) and the Southern African Health Technology Assessment Society (SAHTAS) have joined forces to ensure that patients will benefit from eHealth.

Speaking at the inaugural eHealth Conference at the School of Public Health at Wits University in September, an event that was jointly hosted by the city and SAHTAS, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Councillor, Parks Tau, said eHealth technology would soon be a reality in all city healthcare facilities as part of a bid to improve service delivery and access to healthcare.

“A city cannot be referred to as a ‘Smart City’ unless it improves the health of its citizens. After all, a healthy city is one that is characterised by resilience and sustainability. In that sense, our health system is a social determinant of health and the City of Johannesburg has embraced the concept of technology use to improve our health system,” said Mayor Tau.

Through a partnership with Anglo-American, the city aims to go paperless by 2016 by deploying the theHealthSource – a digital medical health record developed by Anglo American to improve service delivery, reduce waiting times, improve record keeping and ultimately improve patient care.  An investment of R300 million has been allocated for the eHealth solution, which will be implemented in all clinics throughout the province.

SAHTAS Chairperson, Dr Ntombi Mutshekwane, said the investment had the ability to change the face of health in Gauteng.

“As SAHTAS we will be acting as a non-partisan entity to assist the Gauteng DoH with decision-making and technological assessments of equipment for the procurement of devices and pharmaceuticals that will have the greatest impact on patients. Decisions made on which technology to invest in need to be justifiable against all the available options,” said Dr Mutshekwane.

“The optimal use of technology requires proper assessment by a multidisciplinary team of experts. I am pleased to know that SAHTAS, as a professional body in this field with a mission to support and promote the development, communication, understanding and use of Health Technology Assessment in Southern Africa, as an evidence-based decision-making tool regarding the life-cycle assessment of health technologies, in support of accessible, affordable, safe, effective and efficient healthcare delivery, is working with us to ensure optimal investment choices,” said Gauteng Health Director Dr Ernest Kenoshi.

Paper-based patient records in Gauteng are expected to be transferred onto a digital health record in the next 18-24 months.

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