Malta’s vision to enable the digital transformation of healthcare leaving no one behind. Words by Chris Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health in Malta
In the past months of the pandemic, MedTech faced a number of challenges due to the reduced amount of elective interventions but it also experienced immense growths in some areas such as Digital Health, Telemedicine, Robotics and Wearables.
Malta also experienced this growth and there is truly no going back from this. In fact we’ve kicked off the very first Telemedicine Centre in Malta under the auspices of Primary Healthcare Malta with more than 100,000 consultations under our belt in less than 6 months.
We’re also working tirelessly to introduce inpatient prescribing at Mater Dei Hospital through Mario, our robotic pharmaceutical dispensing machine and SOFIA, the companion software that enables the prescribing decisions of doctors and nurses at Mater Dei Hospital.
In fact, we’re currently underway with the implementation of the SOFIA inpatient prescribing system at Mater Dei Hospital supported by the deployment of 17 Robotic Dispensing Machines. We plan to fully deploy them by 2021. Our vision is to help doctors and nurses prescribe and dispense the right medicine at the right dosage, and potentially eliminate all human error. We have also fully implemented the use of Robotic Surgery for prostate-related surgery, and we are looking to further expand this service to gynaecology, liver and ear, nose and throat surgery.
Our vision is to help doctors and nurses prescribe and dispense the right medicine at the right dosage, and potentially eliminate all human error.
When thinking about MedTech, especially in 2020, the travelling of data and information in between different health information systems has become all the more prominent.
In the past year we have taken important and challenging decisions to enable the digital transformation of healthcare through the implementation of numerous projects, namely the Electronic Patient Record for Primary Healthcare.
The turnaround and implementation of this system happened at an unprecedented speed. It kicked off before COVID-19 and by May we had the Electronic Patient Record in more than 60 locations. We have already recorded more than 1 milllion patient encounters since its launch last November.
Public Health also embraced the digital transformation accelerated by the COVID-19 Pandemic by deploying several technologies in record times such as COVID-19 Check, a symptom checker to assess your risk for COVID-19, Go.Data, a WHO Outbreak Management System used by more than 40 countries world-wide and COVID Alert Malta, Malta’s official proximity tracing app.
In fact COVID Alert Malta was designed, developed, and delivered together with the Malta Information Technology Agency a nationwide digital proximity tracing app in less than 6 months supported by a legal framework and robust information security audit.
Best of all we’re aiming for the highest level of transparency by making our code available in a publicly available open-source repository. With this fully open and transparent approach, we’ve managed to reach 60,000 downloads in less than 5 days relating to approximately 12% of the population.
In the past 7 years, through the CONvErGe and Mapping Tomorrow EU-Funded Projects, the Government of Malta has accelerated the digital transformation of multiple sectors and this has had an immense impact on Health. Here, we are looking towards a future where using paper documents to manage your health will be truly a thing of the past.
This October MedTech and MedCann Summit is happening at the right time and at the right place. The unprecedented growth of MedTech is still taking place despite the challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the shifts towards crisis-oriented interventions and telemedicine.
We are looking towards a future where we will see an increased demand for dynamic critical care models, enhanced virtual care using connected solutions and reinventing the way that we prepare for nosocomial threats and infection control.
Public Health also embraced the digital transformation accelerated by the COVID-19 Pandemic by deploying several technologies in record times.
In the local community, we have noted a rising demand in patient engagement with the number of users on myHealth getting closer to the 100,000 mark, and this is truly reflective of the direction that the MedTech Industry is heading towards.
We’re truly encouraged by the active and growing Digital Health Ecosystem powered by Non-Governmental Organisations such as Digital Health Malta, that also plays an important role as one of the co-organisers of the MedTech Summit. And last, but not least we look forward to see the ever-growing educational and research efforts happening at the University of Malta.
We are at an important juncture and through the concerted efforts of all the relevant stakeholders, including the private industry, Malta can be the MedTech and Digital Health innovation hub, with its unique characteristics of being an English-Speaking country, having direct connections within the European Union and the Commonwealth, and its excellent healthcare system, giving us the right competitive edge to succeed.
Through this, we can embrace the vision of Digital Health and MedTech for All and not just the few.
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