Thursday, February 28, 2013

Database to address fears of medical community

|The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: The national database on performance in patient safety will address the fears of the medical community.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr S. R. Manalan said doctors and nurses feared being penalised when they made errors.
“They try to cover them up, which leads to bigger problems.
“The data collection process could remove that fear and see how these errors can be prevented,” he said.
Dr Manalan advised the National Patient Safety Council not to rush the implementation of the national database.
Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Jacob Thomas said patient safety should be given due attention.
“APHM is represented in the council and is endorsing and leading this effort,” he said.
It was reported in Sunday Star that medical establishments will have to report regularly to the council on 13 key patient safety goals.
The Health Ministry's pharmaceutical services division is tasked with monitoring and analysing cases like medication error for the database.
Its senior director Datuk Eisah A. Rahman said that from the database, which will be set up within the year, the division would be able to identify areas to improve.

Plan to link all hospitals and clinics via electronic system

The Star Online

PUTRAJAYA: All public hospitals and clinics will be able to share data with each other under a plan by the Health Ministry to electronically link these institutions.
The Healthcare IT system, which is currently being developed by Mimos Bhd, is expected to be ready in a year.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the system would eventually connect all 142 hospitals and over 1,000 health, mother and child, and dental clinics within a network.
“They will be able to share data, which will improve their services tremendously. Currently, the hospitals and clinics operate on a closed system, under which even the Putrajaya Hospital cannot communicate' with the Serdang Hospital,” he said at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Mimos here yesterday.
Liow said the initiative, to be implemented in phases, would entail massive development to the country's health system.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who was also present, said that under the MoU, the Health Ministry would collaborate with Mimos in the development, implementation and proliferation of the Healthcare IT framework.
The first phase of the initiative, he said, would involve the enhancement of the Malaysia Health Information Exchange (MyHIX), a system which enables the exchange of medical records among hospitals and clinics in a smooth and secure manner.
It will also enhance the Malaysian Health Data Warehouse (MyHDW), a data analysis centre for the planning, research and monitoring of the healthcare system and the Sistem Maklumat Rawatan Perubatan (SMRP), an ongoing web-based medical treatment report system linking all hospitals in the country.
Dr Ongkili said the system would also involve Mimos' cloud computing technologies in mitigating cost issues and increasing ICT usage in public health and dental clinics nationwide.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ministry relaxes pharmacists' training scope

New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has liberalised the training scope of provisionally registered pharmacists (PRP) with a view of increasing the pharmacist-people ratio of 1:2,000 by 2016, as well as increasing the number of registered pharmacists in the country.

Pharmaceutical services senior director Datuk Eisah Abdul Rahman said through the liberalisation process, pharmacy graduates can now go through their training outside of government hospitals and facilities.
"They can undergo their PRP training at private pharmacy facilities, such as private hospitals, industries, in research and development and community pharmacies," she said at the opening of Cosway's 100th pharmacy store in Bandar Sri Damansara, here, yesterday.
The compulsory training introduced in 2004 was also shortened from a three-year period to only one year and was made effective in September 2011.
The move, she said, was to encourage local pharmacists to get involved in the private pharmaceutical sector.
"We welcome applications from community pharmacies to be listed as training facilities for graduates.
"Those interested will have to get recognition through the accreditation of community pharmacy programme under the Malaysian Pharmacy Board."
Eisah said the premises must also fulfil the rules and regulations set in the 2011 Community Pharmacy Benchmarking Guidelines.
As of Jan 31, the current pharmacist-people ratio stood at 1:2,947, with a total number of 10,250 pharmacists registered in the country.
The opening of the 100th Cosway pharmacy store was attended by Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan and Cosway Corporation chief executive officer Al Chuah.

(From left) Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Pharmaceutical services senior director Datuk Eisah Abdul Rahman and Cosway Corp-oration CEO Al Chuah at the opening of Cosway’s 100th pharmacy store in Bandar Sri Damansara. Pic by S. Sugumaran

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cosway aims to be biggest retail pharmacy player

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Cosway (M) Sdn Bhd continues to expand its network in Malaysia with a plan to open 200 Cosway Pharmacy retail stores nationwide in the next one year, thus making it the biggest retail pharmacy player in Malaysia.
To date the company has established 100 pharmacy stores across the country and its goal is to strengthen its network to 1,000 stores within a five-year period.
Cosway is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berjaya Corp Bhd.
Cosway managing director Al Chuah said on average the company invested close to RM150,000 per store, adding that the cost might vary depending on the conditions.
“The new pharmacy stores will involve incorporation within existing Cosway stores and a private-owned pharmacies as well as a completely new Cosway Pharmacy store,” he said after the launch of the Cosway Pharmacy 100th store yesterday.
For the 100th store, Chuah said it was converted from a local-owned pharmacy and Cosway had invested RM120,000 to renovate it.
On average, a Cosway Pharmacy has the potential to make record sales of between RM80,000 and RM90,000 per month.
When asked on the company's strategy to compete with other retail pharmacy players, Chuah said one of its strategies was its wide range of products offered.
He said Cosway had more than 2,000 consumer products with an average of about 10 new products introduced per month.
“As part of our strategies to compete with other players, we also have the Berjaya rewards card and at the moment we are collaborating withMaxis to create a medical device to measure the glucose level in our blood system,” Chuah said.
A representative from Cosway said the collaboration would be announced latest by end-March this year.
Cosway Pharmacy has been selected under the ministry's liberalisation of attachment trainings for pharmacist. With the programme, pharmacists who fulfil the attachment under Cosway have a chance to be awarded a free store. The pharmacy store is referred to as a free store, whereby Cosway bears the rental, utilities and also supplies products on consignment.
The company also targets to tap the Philippine market this year.
“Our model to penetrate this market is via direct selling and working with local pharmacy owners by renting spaces to sell our products. We are going to focus on customers that are interested in beauty and health products,” Chuah said.

    Sunday, February 24, 2013

    National database on patient safety to be set up

    The Star Online

    PETALING JAYA: A national database on performance in patient safety will be set up within the year. The data collected will be used to implement measures that will better safeguard people against preventable medical harm.
    The database will require the participation of public and private healthcare organisations to monitor, evaluate and further improve the status of key areas of patient safety.
    It will contain data from private and public medical centres, which will ensure the availability of better statistics on patient safety throughout the country.
    Such a database will enable healthcare professionals to improve their performances because they will then have baseline data for comparison.
    The National Patient Safety Council secretariat said the database will utilise 13 key patient safety goals, with their accompanying performance indicators that medical establishments will have to report on regularly to the council.
    “In addition to the patient safety goals, an incident reporting and learning system has been established for government hospitals and health clinics, as well as dental clinics,” according to the secretariat.
    “There are 29 incidents that need to be monitored and these include injury to newborn children during delivery, medication error resulting in an adverse result or death, and wrong surgery.”
    Previously in the Health Ministry and a number of private healthcare facilities, patient safety was assessed in terms of compliance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Patient Safety Challenges and local patient safety activities.
    Patient safety has increasingly become an important agenda, enough for the WHO to declare it a fundamental principle of healthcare.
    The goals, strategies, key performance indicators and targets for the proposed database were drawn up based on Health Ministry and international standards, discussions with key stakeholders, and input from WHO advisers.

    Health Ministry mulls incentives for opening community pharmacies @ Sun Feb 24 2013


    PETALING JAYA, Feb 24 — The Health Ministry is considering providing incentives to encourage the private sector to set up Community Pharmacy in rural areas. Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said such incentives was necessary to overcome a shortage of Community Pharmacies in rural areas. 

    "The Ministry views the situation (lack of pharmacies in rural areas) seriously as many such pharmacies are only mushrooming in the city and concentrated in certain regions," he told reporters after opening the 100th Cosway Pharmacy outlet in Damansara, near here, today. 

    Liow in his speech text that was read by the Health Ministry's Pharmaceutical services division director Datuk Eisah A Rahman, said according to the ministry's statistics, there are 10,006 registered pharmacies and 1,834 Community Pharmacies throughout the country. 

    The concentration of Community Pharmacies is in Selangor (where there are 433 pharmacies), Penang (213), Kuala Lumpur (201) and Johor (157). 

    He said realising the lack of pharmacies in rural areas and inequitable distribution, the Health Ministry was looking into a zoning system to distribute pharmacies accordingly in urban and rural areas so that the people would not be deprived of such facilities. 

    Liow said to ensure an equitable distribution of pharmacies in the country, the ministry and the Malaysian Pharmacy Association had developed the Malaysian Healthcare Providers Mapping Service. Currently, the ratio of pharmacists to the population in Malaysia is 1:2,947 people and by 2016 it is expected to reach the optimum ratio of 1:2,000 people set by the World Health Organisation. — Bernama

    Friday, February 22, 2013

    Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah is new Health D-G - Nation

    The Star Online

    Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, been appointed Health director-general, effective March 1Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, been appointed Health director-general, effective March 1
    KUALA LUMPUR: Health Ministry deputy director-general (medical)Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has been appointed director-general, effective March 1.
    His appointment to replace Datuk Seri Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman was announced Thursday by Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ali Hamsa.
    In a statement, Dr Ali said Dr Noor Hisham's appointment, which was approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, was based on his experience and knowledge in the medical field.
    Having held the post of deputy director-general since Feb 1, 2008, he was also the Putrajaya Hospital surgical department head and consultant breast and endocrine surgeon in 2007, Putrajaya Hospital general surgery medical officer in 2004 and general surgeon in 1994.
    Dr Noor Hisham, 50, who has a masters in surgery and medical doctorate degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, joined the civil service as a medical officer in August 1988.
    "I believe his experience, knowledge, expertise and credibility can ensure the country's health agenda and goals are executed, and the people get the best medical service," said Dr Ali.
    The post felt vacant following the demotion of Dr Hasan Rahman last year.
    Dr Hasan was demoted by one grade following his khalwat case in November. - Bernama

    Tuesday, February 19, 2013

    Health Ministry to push for more haemodialysis centres nationwide

    The Star Online

    PUTRAJAYA: The Health Ministry is pushing a new policy focused on opening up more haemodialysis centres nationwide, as the country faces a rising number of patients with chronic renal disease.
    Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the number of patients suffering from End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) has more than tripled in the past decade, with a total of 26,159 patients undergoing treatment in 2011 compared with just 7,837 patients in 2001.
    "This is a new policy, where we want to set up haemodialysis centres in health clinics that have the space to spare.
    "However, we don't have enough money so the ministry will apply for extra funds from the Finance Ministry," he said at a press conference here Tuesday after receiving haemodialysis machines donated by Lembaga Tabung Haji.
    Liow said as at 2011, the country had a total of 7,088 haemodialysis machines set up at public and private centres and those run by non-governmental organisations.
    However, he declined to give specific figures on how many more machines were needed to best serve patients nationwide, pointing out that it would depend on how much funding was received from the Government.

    Tuesday, February 05, 2013

    Dr Pornthip ready to do Sugumaran’s second autopsy


    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand has agreed to perform a second autopsy on security guard C. Sugumaran who allegedly died from a police beating, Sugumaran’s family lawyers said today. 
    Dr Pornthip is the Thai forensic pathologist who had observed Teoh Beng Hock’s second post-mortem and testified at a royal inquiry that foul play was likely involved in the DAP aide’s mysterious death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Selangor headquarters in 2009.
    “On behalf of the family, we have urgently written to the prime minister, health minister and the director-general of the Health Ministry to issue the necessary authorisations for Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand(picture) to conduct the second post-mortem on Sugumaran’s remains,” said Sugumaran’s family lawyers N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya in a joint press statement.
    “We have no objection to a government pathologist being allowed to observe the procedure. We call upon Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak and the other relevant authorities to respond immediately to this request, as the family are unable to carry out the last rites until the second post-mortem is concluded,” they added.
    Najib ordered a forensic report last Thursday on Sugumaran after the latter’s death was raised at a Cabinet meeting.
    Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was directed to oversee the forensic report after MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, who is also a minister in the PM’s Department, had raised the security guard’s death during the Cabinet meeting.
    Several witnesses who saw Sugumaran collapse on a street near his home in Batu 12, Hulu Langat on January 23 have accused the policemen who arrested him of beating up the man after he was handcuffed.
    The police have denied the allegations.
    Sugumaran’s death joins a list of other alleged police killings like the custodial deaths of Chang Chin Te earlier this year; A. Kugan and R. Gunasegaran in 2009; the deadly police shooting of 14-year-old schoolboy Aminulrasyid Amzah in 2010, and various other fatal police shootings in the past two years.
    A United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 2010 visit to Malaysian prisons and detention centres reported in 2011 that between 2003 and 2007, “over 1,500 people died while being held by authorities.”
    The Bar Council, civil society and several politicians from both sides of the divide have called for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to reform the police force since 2006.