In May, Kosmowski says, he and the Iraqi surgeon general, Brig. Gen. Samir Abdullah Hassan of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, met in Jordan with Joseph Dal Molin and Feras Kamal, both directors of the not-for-profit WorldVistA organization, to discuss Iraqi healthcare IT needs.
Dal Molin is the principal of Canadian health IT consulting firm eCology, and Kamal is COO of Electronic Health Solutions, a not–for-profit organization founded by the Jordanian government to leverage that nation's investment and training in WorldVistA technology. Jordan, you may recall, is installing WorldVistA in Prince Hamza Hospital and two other healthcare facilities in Amman. The Jordanian government hopes to use the expertise that its citizens acquire during the VistA pilot installations to create an economic development program for Jordanian technicians that would promote the use of VistA throughout the Middle East.
"Their go-live date is 1 October,” Kosmowski says of the Jordanian project. “The big thing they're doing is called an Arabization of the VistA program.”
The Jordanians, he says, are looking at ways to translate to Arabic from English certain EHR system outputs, such as printing labels for prescription bottles or patient instructions.
Iraq long has had healthcare relationships with its western neighbor, and the country could be the Jordanian IT enterprise's first customer outside the kingdom, Kosmowski says. Bids are going out this week on a U.S. government-backed contract to provide Iraqi IT professionals with VistA training for the installation at al-Muthana Hospital, a military hospital in Baghdad. The Jordanians will likely bid on the job. Kosmowski says he expects the winning bidder or bidders to be awarded contracts in a few weeks.
Kosmowski says heads of the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Health of Iraq and the Ministry of Health in Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq signed off in August on a joint memorandum of understanding, pledging to use VistA in their healthcare facilities and to cooperate with each other in sharing health IT knowledge.
After they were presented with the outline of the national health IT plan, the Kurds were the first to sign the formal memorandum of understanding. "They embraced it immediately," Kosmowski says. "It's a representation of cooperation between the Iraqi Ministry of Health and the Kurdish Ministry of Health that really hasn't happened since the early 1990s."