Involving patients in their own healthcare through the Internet is an important part of the innovative way Aruba’s Ministry of Health and Sports is seeking to improve healthcare on the island.
Dr. Visser is a keen supporter of e-medicine and wants to see more and more patients getting medical advice and care by consulting their doctors online through e-mail, secure messaging, and face-to-face online doctor visits. The ministry is also looking at introducing m-health, which enables patients to use mobile communication technology to keep an eye on their health.
“Devices that we have now can monitor you wherever you are,” says Dr. Visser. “We want to develop that. This is the future of medicine.”
There are plans to introduce the integrated web-based healthcare platform, Drimpy, which combines a patient’s health record and journal with a network and the ability to communicate with doctors and health professionals.
“Eventually every citizen here will use it. You will be able to access your public health files, your hospital, insurance and specialists and doctors who will answer your questions directly.”
There are innovations in the real world too, including plans for a health bus – effectively a traveling clinic with a scanner to measure BMI (Body Mass Index), and a laboratory. “The bus will do screening on obesity and non-transmittable chronic diseases,” says Dr. Visser. “At the same time, the information coming out of the bus will be used for research.”
In other interesting developments, Soper Strategies of the Netherlands has been working on a project to free the island of the infectious tropical disease dengue, while the hotel industry is collaborating with the Institute for Healthy and Active Living (IBISA) on a guide to healthy lifestyle activities for tourists.