Published: 19 June 2014
The Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, called on stakeholders and role players in health to innovate solutions to achieve the objectives of improving the patient experience as a sector.
Minister Botha was speaking at the Public Private Health Forum. He made closing comments on the presentations made by various representatives on the challenges of integrating patient information for improved clinical outcomes.
Minister Botha said he was grateful that he has been offered the opportunity to continue the major objective of Creating Wellness. "Continuity is very important in major departments. Our government's objective remains to build a schooled and educated work force. In order to grow our economy we need healthy people and a healthy workforce. That is where our Department has massive impact."
"Considering that our health facilities facilitate more than 20 million interactions with patients in one year, means that our department probably is the department dealing with citizens more than any other department.
"We steer a massive ship: a R17,3 billion budget, 32 000 staff, 600 public health facilities. The challenge remains: How do you lead and improve the individual experience? I believe electronic technology is going to play a core role in achieving this objective in the next five years with the DA in government here."
Minister Botha stressed the further growth and expansion of collaboration with the private sector. "We are pleased with what we have achieved in the past term through partnerships, but we still have major challenges going forward. We want to create an environment in our sector where the public and private sectors take co-responsibility. This challenge requires win-win solutions."
Minister Botha encouraged all stakeholders to explore all the potential in the technology developments and the integration of patient databases, within the guidelines and prescriptions of the law. He said that technology developments for the next five years offer the potential to solve major challenges without spending vast amounts of money. “Normally our major challenge is funding, but now the real challenge is to spend the available budget efficiently. This means we need to identify what exactly is required to further improve on current implementation. Money not the issue, but effectiveness with current resources, and the electronic platform offer this potential.”
In closing Minister Botha invited all participants to feel free to propose new ideas to increase health outcomes and improve a client’s experience. “Let us not underestimate our ability to resolve the stumbling blocks that we see right now. If new legislation is required, then let’s take that route. Let us interact and find a solution to modernise the health system to be compatible with world systems.