Expansion of telemedicine in Guyana

Guyana has very few specialists in Internal medicine (IM) and Infectious diseases (ID), based primarily at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Access to specialist care is therefore limited. To enable access to and decentralise IM expertise within Guyana, McMasters University and the Ministry of Public Health initiated a telemedicine project that also aimed to provide senior registrars and residents opportunities to discuss and review patient cases with McMaster University faculty, and use a variety of formative and summative assessment tools to identify learning objectives to encourage critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills.

Photo of the Georgetown hospitalGeorgetown Hospital.

One of the main benefits of the project will be the development of a community of practice for telemedicine to provide teaching and counselling around complex cases.

The third phase of this telemedicine project is one of the winners of the call for applications for IS4H project implementation promoted by the Pan American Health Organization. Its goal is the expansion of telemedicine to four health facilities in Regions 2, 6, 7, and 10 in Guyana.

It is expected that this project will build capacity in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for the effective implementation of the telemedicine program utilizing change management and communication as a key pillar of IS4H. Other benefits will be the expansion of decentralised IM/ID specialist care from Guyana's national/tertiary hospital to four regional hospital providers, as well as the development of a community of practice for telemedicine to provide teaching and counselling around complex IM/ID cases.

Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) will act as the national telemedicine hub. The GPHC IM/ID residents will be the local experts and will work in collaboration with physicians at the four regional hospitals to provide expert management to IM/ID cases. This will enhance access to quality services thereby reducing existing inequities. Difficult cases needing additional expertise will be further consulted with faculty of McMaster University. McMaster University will also lead the quality assurance component in conducting case audits using a defined protocol.