C-TECH, the Caribbean Training and Education Centre for Health, is revolutionising healthcare delivery in Jamaica through its groundbreaking telehealth training programme. This programme is offered to healthcare providers across treatment and support sites, equipping them with essential skills to effectively utilise telemedicine. Telemedicine encompasses both clinical and non-clinical remote services, focusing on providing low-resource clinical care and support. C-TECH’s telehealth concept introduces a comprehensive 3-phase implementation process, ensuring seamless integration of telemedicine across healthcare facilities.
In Phase 1, known as telephone triage, the programme aims to reduce unnecessary clinic visits and minimise time spent in clinics. Through pre-visit planning and patient communication, this phase efficiently responds to patients’ needs.
Phase 2, Teleconsults, addresses barriers to care and fragmented services caused by appointment gaps. Teleconsultations bridge these gaps, ensuring patients receive timely and comprehensive care.
Phase 3, Virtual Clinics, harnesses the potential of remote healthcare by facilitating remote diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing management. This innovative approach expands access to quality care, enhancing convenience for patients.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ (MOHW) HIV/STI/TB unit, C-TECH has developed a telemedicine standard operating procedure (SOP) and an eight-module training programme to support telemedicine implementation in HIV treatment sites. These resources are hosted on the Caribbean Health eLearning Portal (LMS), ensuring easy access for healthcare workers. By combining online training with face-to-face components, C-TECH is building the capacity of healthcare providers to deliver telemedicine services to patients in various capacities.
During the field-testing phase, which began in October 2021, the SOP and training modules underwent evaluation and refinement based on user feedback. The success of the field test has led to the expansion of telemedicine activities in the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and the North Eastern Regional Health Authority (NERHA). Implementation plans also include sites in the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) and the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA).
“We have witnessed the transformative power of telehealth in revolutionising patient care, thanks to our dedicated healthcare workers,” said Patricia Hilton, C-TECH Clinical Programme Manager. “Through our telemedicine implementation, we hope to see improved access, enhanced efficiency, and increased patient satisfaction. We are proud to be at the forefront of this technological advancement and remain committed to driving positive change in healthcare delivery.”
To ensure the success and sustainability of telemedicine, C-TECH continues to provide comprehensive training to healthcare workers at established and new sites. Additionally, the Training of Trainers workshops empower officers to serve as mentors and trainers during the implementation process.
Funding for these activities has been provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through a sub-award granted to C-TECH from the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
C-TECH’s telehealth implementation marks a significant milestone in revolutionising healthcare delivery in Jamaica. By leveraging the power of telemedicine, C-TECH empowers healthcare workers, enhances patient care, and eliminates barriers to quality healthcare. As C-TECH expands its telehealth initiatives, it is poised to transform healthcare delivery in Jamaica and become a beacon of innovation in the region.