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Health minister: data crucial for better legislation

Dialogue and collaboration: Kim Wilson, Minister of Health (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Legislation to allow the Ministry of Health to collect specific information from healthcare providers will be crucial in bettering healthcare coverage, the health minister said.

Kim Wilson told the public that the recently-passed Bermuda Health Council Act Amendment Act 2024 was made after consulting healthcare businesses.

She said health businesses would have support in the transition to universal healthcare, adding: “We will continue to need healthcare providers involved as they know healthcare and have the knowledge of delivering healthcare to our community.”

The statement came after the One Bermuda Alliance on Friday criticised the Bill for being “almost excessive”.

The Bill would allow the health ministry to dictate what information should be collected from healthcare providers.

Ms Wilson clarified over the weekend that healthcare professionals were involved in two stakeholder sessions in October and November to gather feedback on the Bill.

“We fully anticipate more engagement sessions and consultation in the future, customised to suit the feedback we are seeking.

“We encourage open dialogue and collaboration as we work together to build a stronger, more resilient healthcare system that ensures access to essential care for everyone and benefits all residents of Bermuda.”

The Ministry of Health also outlined several healthcare initiatives that were successfully led by data collection.

The UK saw a 20 per cent reduction in hospital readmission rates after data analytic tools help identify high-risk patients, with interventions to prevent complications and improve post-release care.

The Cayman Islands also saw data-driven policies lead to 30 per cent higher vaccination rates for children, increasing herd immunity and lowering rates of disease.

Jamaica’s use of healthcare data analytics saw a 20 per cent increase in early detection of chronic diseases.

Ms Wilson reminded the public that the island needed better data collection to reduce the cost of healthcare and deliver universal health coverage.

Comments from the October session can be found on the health strategy’s website.

Comments from the November session, which focused on the Throne Speech programme to better control medical co-payments, will be uploaded this week.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said analysis of the “relevant data sets” would show what areas of healthcare could be best improved.

This data would include population health, healthcare use and healthcare expenditure.

The spokeswoman added that this additional data would help the health ministry make more accurate predictions of future care and supply needs.

She said: “The legislation is not designed to micromanage individual practices or interfere with office finances.

“The council’s data collection is to be directed by the minister under section 7 of the Bermuda Health Council Act 2004 to ensure data collection is targeted and authorised and to avoid a ‘data sweep'.

“Furthermore, the legislation includes safeguards to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patient information, ensuring that sensitive data remains secure and used solely for its intended purpose of informing healthcare policy and decision-making.

“The legislation does include standard penalties for enforcement purposes, which is normal.

“However, the penalties outlined in the newly passed bill are similar to those already present in the existing Act.”

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Published May 07, 2024 at 7:54 am (Updated May 08, 2024 at 10:53 pm)

Health minister: data crucial for better legislation

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