By Lori Lyn Lirio
DOCOMO Pacific, a telecommunications company, donated US$50,000 to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation for developing and maintaining an Electronic Health Records system for patient care in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
DoCoMo Pacific-CNMI General Manager Dino Manning said last June 6 donation is the first installment of the US$250,000 total donation pledged by the company to the CHCC.
“We will be presenting a check to CHCC every year for five years.”
According to CHCC Chief Executive Esther Muña, the donation will help develop a reliable health records system that will easily share with off-island specialists the treatment history, test results, and other medical information of patients from Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
“I thank Docomo Pacific for presenting us this significant contribution for our electronic health record system,” she said, adding that one of the biggest challenges that they have is ensuring that they have a system that works.
“We have invested a lot of money in helping the IT department. They need tools to make sure that we do our patient care services,” Muña said.
Internal Medicine doctor David S. Grauman stressed the importance of functioning IT.
“If something happens to IT system, we won’t know what’s wrong for the last five years. If one item goes down, we cannot deliver healthcare.”
Manning said the Docomo Pacific’s donation is the beginning of the private-public partnership which was forged during the time of the late Gov. Eloy Inos.
“He said when a CT scan or X-ray done for the patient, sometimes it takes overnight for it to be transmitted because of the connectivity issues or sometimes they just timed out and the image will not be transmitted. This is the example of the late governor had brought up,” Manning recalled.
He said the limited availability and high cost of undersea cable bandwidth meant that doctors who tried to send large digital files like MRI scans to off-island experts frequently had to wait several hours – if it worked at all.
Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres, meanwhile, thanked Docomo Pacific “for the partnership with the hospital with their continued contribution of electronic health record system, something that is needed for a long time.”