It’s easy to get caught up in the business world, touting your company’s products and looking for that next sale. So I’m very happy to bring to you a heartwarming story about companies, including McKesson, working in conjunction with a nonprofit to help improve the lives and future prospects of people living in Haiti.
As you recall, Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in 2010 that killed more than 100,000 people and destroyed more than 250,000 homes. Among the 30,000 businesses destroyed was the country’s only teaching hospital. In the aftermath of the temblor, Boston-based nonprofit Partners In Health (PIH) began working to build a world-class referral and teaching hospital in Mirebalais, on the Central Plateau outside of Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital.
PACS to Support Hospital’s Unique Needs
McKesson became involved through Dr. Jeffrey Mendel, senior health and policy advisor for radiology at Partners in Health. Mendel wanted us to implement McKesson Radiology™ into the Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais.
“Dr. Mendel told us that the hospital needed a world-class, state-of-the-art radiology system,” says Peter Frankel, manager, technical marketing, McKesson Imaging & Workflow Solutions. “He felt that our picture archiving and communication system (PACS) was the only product that could offer the infrastructure needed to support its unique needs. Another plus is that we already have the capability to support the French language built into our product.”
A digital radiology department can help improve the quality of care while mitigating the need for a hospital to process and store film, Frankel explains. The PACS system archives the imaging data to the United States to help ensure against data loss in the event of a future natural disaster in Haiti. “Digital imaging also enables volunteer radiologists in North America to support the hospital with the capability to read images remotely and collaborate on reporting,” Frankel says.
PIH built the hospital with the goal of having it run by Haitians, he explains. “It’s very much about empowering local people where they work,” says Frankel. PIH has provided support to help administrators learn to run the hospital. Most recently, it launched a program of medical residencies to train the next generation of doctors and nurses in Haiti.
That’s due, in part, to McKesson. The PACS plays a large role in facilitating improvements to quality of care for patients while also helping train healthcare workers. The hospital started its residency program last fall, enrolling 14 Haitian physicians who are training to become specialists in areas such as pediatrics, internal medicine and surgery. Later this year, the hospital plans to further its efforts to help improve quality of care by expanding its teaching program, with new residencies in OB/GYN, orthopedics, anesthesiology and emergency medicine. Nurse education will include anesthesiology and critical care.
Patients, Economy Benefit from Facility
The hospital has a referral area of 3.4 million people, including those in Mirebalais and two surrounding regions. Since its opening in March 2013, the staff has provided more than 55,000 clinical visits, seeing more than 700 patients during a typical day. What’s more, the hospital employs about 700 people. A study led by PIH shows that the Haitian economy generates $1.82 for every $1 invested in the facility.
After a recent visit to Mirebalais University Hospital, Mendel reports, “Every clinician, student and resident told me that PACS has thoroughly improved their ability to deliver care. The CT scanner is running and busy every day. Overall, the hospital is a huge success, brimming with patients, students and residents in white coats everywhere, and radiology is viewed as the major success story by everyone.”
Mendel credits McKesson for its role in bringing 21st century medicine to this region of Haiti via its PACS solution. He says the people of McKesson “were the absolute key in creating a digital department in Haiti, so I and our hundreds of thousands of patients thank you. I know that your continued support and guidance will be critical as we move forward to expand our digital imaging to our other hospitals.”