Creating a healthcare strategy

A national healthcare conference to
be held in Cayman next month is part of the government’s efforts to create a
comprehensive strategy for sustainable local healthcare.

Minister of Health Mark Scotland
said the timing of the Healthcare 20/20 conference was ideal because health is
a topical and relevant issue for everyone who lives and works in the Cayman

“One of the things we are doing as
a ministry is to develop a strategic plan for healthcare going forward, and one
way of starting that exercise is to have this conference, which should bring
together stakeholders and the expertise and experience we have here locally as
well as international experts… and start the discussion,” Mr. Scotland said.

The conference will draw on the
expertise of local, regional and international professionals in healthcare, as
well as public and private policymakers, researchers, insurance-industry and
legal professionals, and government authorities.

“We need to have a strategy and
policies on how we can better access healthcare and keep the costs down,” the
minister said.

More than 200 people are expected
to attend the conference, which will be from 11 to 13 November.

Among the speakers will be Indian
heart surgeon Dr. Devi Shetty, who has signed a deal with the government to
open a 2,000-bed medical conference hospital in Cayman.

Even with Dr. Shetty’s presence,
Mr. Scotland said the conference would not focus only on medical tourism, and
that Dr. Shetty would be giving a global assessment of the healthcare industry,
as well as looking at the opportunities and challenges for the Cayman Islands.

The issue of medical tourism will
be addressed by Renee-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism
Association and editor-in-chief of Medical Tourism Magazine, who will speak on
Medical Tourism: Myth or Reality?

Delegates at the conference are
expected to come from the medical industry, insurance companies, patients,
regulators and the private sector, represented by the Cayman Islands Chamber of
Commerce, organisers said.

Mr. Scotland said discussions and
observations from the conference would segue into the government’s five-year
healthcare strategy plan and that the conference would serve to put healthcare
considerations at the forefront of public debate.

“People don’t think about
healthcare until they need to go to the hospital or make a claim for insurance
and realise it is not approved. Healthcare, and recognising the cost of
healthcare, should be in the forefront of people’s minds,” he said.

“The thing is to get healthcare out
in the community and to get people talking about it,” he added.

With Cayman’s small population and
a lack of certain specialist care in Cayman, many patients have to travel
overseas, for example, for cancer or cardiac treatment.

Among the services health officials
hope to see soon in Cayman is a catherisation laboratory for heart patients and
a staff oncologist at the hospital,

“Cayman is just about at the
population size to sustain a full time cardiologist and oncologist. Ten years
ago, it would not have been feasible, but right now, we’re just on the borderline,”
Mr. Scotland said.

Mr. Scotland said he hoped the
conference, which is being paid for through private sponsorship, would become
an annual event.

Several global and local sponsors
will operate exhibition booths, offering product demonstrations and promotional
material, at the conference. Supporters include US-based Tenet Healthcare
Corporation, the Pan American Health Organisation, Cerner Corporation, JohAli
Medical and Baptist Health; the UK-based Medical Protection Society; Cayman’s
Health Services Authority, Tower Marketing, Cayman Airways, LIME, the Caymanian
Compass; and Dr. Shetty.

The conference will be held at the
Ritz Carlton, opening with remarks by Premier McKeeva Bush and Mr. Scotland.

Overseas speakers at
the conference will include Dr. Shetty and Dr. Christine Goeschel, clinical instructor
in the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and associate faculty in the School of
Public Health. There will also be a strong contingent of local presenters,
including Dr. Anna Matthews, acting medical officer of health of the Cayman
Islands; Dale Sanders, chief information officer, Cayman Islands Health Services
Authority; and Mervyn Conolly, superintendent of the Health Insurance


Mr. Scotland