Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. met with representatives of the Washington, D.C., mayor’s office and Howard University Provost Anthony Wuthoh Tuesday for discussions about best practices for advancing telehealth in the territory and to explore strategic partnerships that will benefit Virgin Islanders by providing better access and more resources for their health and well-being, according to a Government House press release.
The meetings were organized by Office of Health Information Technology Director Michelle Francis, and Gov. Bryan was joined by representatives from the Bureau of Information Technology, the Department of Health, Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center, Schneider Regional Medical Center, the Office of Management and Budget and the Virgin Islands Next Generation Network.
Discussions centered on health technology, data gathering and analysis and public health advancements. The V.I. team learned from experts who are leading transformation and innovation in Health Information Technology and Exchange and discussed future collaborative opportunities to provide improved and comprehensive healthcare to V.I. residents.
“In addition to being extremely helpful and informative for our Administration’s plans to improve healthcare for our residents, the expertise that was shared from those who have these systems already in place is invaluable to helping us modernize our health system,” Bryan said. “Besides helping us understand some of the problematic issues in implementing telemedicine systems, our discussions also opened the door for partnerships that will increase the resources for our community as we move forward.”
At the D.C. Mayor’s Office, the group met with Wayne Turnage, the District of Columbia Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services and Director of the Department of Healthcare, and other officials of the district’s public health agencies.
The discussions included best practices in the evolution of clinical data exchange to a more whole-person-centered public health utility that supports the coordination and data exchange between physical, behavioral, social and human services.
Additionally, the governor’s delegation met with Howard University Provost Anthony Wuthoh and key members of his team to discuss health innovations that they are engaged in, including telehealth and remote patient monitoring and research.
Discussions also included potential partnerships with Howard University that will allow greater access to academic research, subject matter expertise and other resources for the territory. Additional sessions included meetings with Google and other private sector leaders in cloud computing, data aggregation and IT infrastructure building.
“The governor’s vision and push towards transformation in health care delivery, and across government in general, combined with the collaborative efforts of the hospitals, health centers and government agencies, will make it possible to finally fulfill a long-standing need and desire for truly seamless coordinated care,” Director of the Department of Healthcare Francis said.
As the USVI prepares to convene its first governance meeting for the USVI Health Information Exchange (HIE), the insights and opportunities for strategic partnerships gained from these meetings will guide the development of Health Information Technology and improved patient care in the Virgin Islands.
Bryan established the Office of Health Information Technology in 2021 to serve as the nucleus for innovative and transformative health information technology resources and solutions across the USVI in order to improve the health and wellness of Virgin Islanders.
The goals of the Office of Health IT are guided by the Mission of the Health IT Workgroup Plan:
“To design and implement an integrated healthcare system that uses health information technology to improve the health and wellness of U.S. Virgin Islands residents.”