Patient-centred care was the focus of the recent Healthcare 20/20 conference held at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, under the theme Patient Centred Care: Achieving Quality Outcomes. The event brought together professionals working in the healthcare field in the Cayman Islands, as well as international speakers.
The conference was opened by Minister of Health Mark Scotland on Thursday, 18 October.
According to Scotland, the conference, now in its third year, has grown in status considerably since its first edition, with international speakers as well as international participants in addition to the local speakers.
“That is what we intended, to see this event become a regular event, a regional healthcare conference,” he said.
Scotland went on to say that the focus of the conference, patient-centred care, was a key consideration for local health care services, with implications for legislation as well as practice.
“We want this conference to drive where we go with our healthcare industry,” he said. “Healthcare is a critical endeavour comprising policy making, management, delivery, costing and most importantly, the wellbeing of the patient.”
He also talked about a number of changes that would be presented to the Legislative Assembly over the next couple of months, including amendments to the health insurance law and its regulations.
“These proposed changes will increase the minimum level of benefits prescribed for the standard health insurance cover, ensuring that people under the plan have adequate resources. It will also introduce several new elements, including a wellness benefit, increase outpatient benefits and cover for mental health,” he said.
According to Scotland, the proposed amendments would be brought to the Legislative Assembly before the end of the year.
Other laws scheduled to go before the Legislative Assembly in the first quarter of next year will include updates to the mental health law as well as Cayman’s first human tissue and transplant bill.
Furthering education in the medical field was also of great importance, with a number of initiatives set to come to fruition.
“By the end of this year, we will be implementing a long sought after programme by which students at the St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine can gain credit for rotations at George Town Hospital, benefitting not only patients, but also students and even the university staff. I also want to mention the start of the Bachelor of Science programme in nursing science at the University College of the Cayman Islands being run in conjunction with the Ministry of Health,” said Scotland.
One of the elements highlighted in numerous presentations was how technology is starting to influence patient engagement with their treatment, as patients and family members tend to be much more informed than in the past due to access to information on diseases and treatments via the Internet, as well as the anywhere access provided by mobile devices.
Speakers, including Barbara Ficarra, a registered nurse and feature writer for The Huffington Post, pointed out that these empowered and engaged patients used to be referred to as ‘difficult patients’ because they asked questions about their treatment. However, this engagement with treatment has advantages for the patient as well as the health service provider, as patients have a greater level of comfort with the treatment they are receiving.
One of the changes from previous years was the introduction of breakout sessions on the second day of the conference.
“The breakout sessions are in response to feedback from delegates over the past few years for some more focussed discussions on critical topics enabling delegates to drill down into topics,” said Scotland.
Attendees were able to choose between one of three breakout sessions, focussing on topical issues in the fields of oncology, paediatric health and workplace wellness, all led by experts in the field. The sessions took the form of presentations by panel members, with an open discussion involving questions from the audience, composed mostly of practitioners in the field.
This change allowed for greater engagement with the topic and the feedback session on the final day of the conference allowed all conference attendees to gain insight into what had been discussed during the three breakout sessions.
During breaks in the presentations, conference attendees were also able to browse the booths of event sponsors and exhibitors in order to learn more about the services offered by the numerous institutions.
The event was sponsored by International Health Solutions by Tenet, The Ministry of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture, the Health Services Authority, Tower Marketing, Admiral Administration, Advanced Integrated Systems, Health City Cayman Islands, 21st Century Oncology, Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Caymanian Compass, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Health Diagnostic Laboratory, BritCay, Cerner, National Research Corporation, UC San Diego, Generali Worldwide, Jackson International, Simplifi, LIME, Broward Health International, Cayman Islands Diabetes Association and Morneau Shepell.