KUALA LUMPUR: Among the challenges faced by the Health Ministry in digitalisation was the high cost behind the implementation of the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system in hospitals across the country, the Dewan Rakyat was told.
Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the implementation of the EMR could cost up to RM1bil, because there was a need to upgrade existing hospital infrastructures.
"The building has to be suitable for digitalisation. Existing equipment has to be upgraded or replaced. These contributed to a high budget.
"For a complete implementation of this, we need to cooperate with the Finance Ministry," said Dr Zaliha during Minister Question Time (MQT) in Parliament on Thursday (March 30).
Dr Zaliha was responding to Tan Hong Pin (PH-Bakri), who asked about the latest updates on the implementation of EMR in hospitals and clinics across the country.
Dr Zaliha said 103 clinics are using the Teleprimary Care - Oral Health Clinical Information System (TPC-OHCIS) and 42 clinics in Negri Sembilan will be fitted with the same system through the national EMR project.
Dr Zaliha also said 1,027 clinics have used the online appointment system through the MySejahtera app and 370 clinics have offered the virtual clinic service to Malaysians.
Meanwhile, Datuk Dr Zulkafperi Hanapi (PN-Tanjong Karang) then interjected and said news reports have stated that Public Service Department (PSD) sponsorship for first degrees this year would not include the medical, dental, pharmacy and education fields.
In response, Dr Zaliha said that healthcare issues shouldn’t be solely pinned to the Health Ministry itself, as it requires joint cooperation with others, such as the PSD, the Higher Education Ministry and the Finance Ministry.
"This matter has to be discussed thoroughly and I agree that we should be concerned about this topic.
"Looking forward, (we should find out) what is the best measure to ensure that issues in healthcare services, particularly doctors and medical officers, is taken seriously by all," added Zaliha.
On March 26, The Star reported that PSD sponsorships for first degrees this year would not include medical, dental, pharmacy, education, as well as nursing, paramedical and pre-service programmes.