SIB Redefines Healthcare

SIB Redefines Healthcare SIB Redefines Healthcare

On the sidelines of the opening of the ‘Environmental Health, Spring Drills’, held on the eve of the Iranian New Year (began March 20) in Tehran, Deputy Health Minister Ali-Akbar Sayyari, outlined the ministry’s achievements in the past year (ended March 19) and expanded on its plans for the next 12 months.

A major highlight in the health sector in the previous year was establishment of the Health Ministry’s Comprehensive Network entitled SIB (an abbreviation for the Persian equivalent of ‘integrated health system’).

“All medical universities, state-run and private hospitals, health houses in rural areas and health centers across the country are now connected to the network and should feed their patients’ information into the software,” Sayyari said, Khabaronline reported.  

‘Danesh Parsian’ Company, a software developer, spent the last two years on developing the project. The information stored in the system will create a valuable database which will help policy and decision makers.

From the new year, electronic health records will be created for all Iranians within the SIB system. Also Inter-Hospital Transfer (IHT) of patients will be easier with this mechanism.

“When a state-run hospital is unable to offer services to a patient due to lack of space or specialized staff, the hospital personnel are responsible for transferring that patient to another state-owned hospital and ensure they receive the necessary emergency and other medical services,” the deputy minister  was quoted as saying.

SIB is an efficient system, helping hospitals to implement the IHT plan properly. SIB also facilitates communication between health houses, medical centers and hospitals.

  Healthcare Coverage

Sayyari pointed to an unheard measure taken by his ministry.”For the first time in the country, 10.2 million people living in informal settlements have access to basic health and medical care.”

Abolfazl Razavi, deputy vice-president for rural development and deprived areas, has been quoted as saying that currently 11-14 million live in slums across the country.

“The ministry has assigned a healthcare station and a health expert to every 4,000 people living in the outlying areas, on the fringes of urban areas and in informal settlements,” Sayyari said.

The health experts are responsible for basic health needs of the locals and if they do not visit them during the specific timeframe, they (experts) must make house visits. “Our approach to providing basic healthcare to the needy has changed from passive to active.  Now our health experts in the deprived areas don’t wait for patients to come to them. They go and visit the ill.”

Each health expert has received 147 hours of training in offering health services to the slum dwellers.

Sayyari referred to other measures taken to help improve health condition in rural areas. “Last year alone, 1,800 health houses were established in the rural areas and the ministry spent $56 million for the purpose. Also 2,400 vehicles were purchased for transferring emergency patients in remote areas to the health centers.”

Since 2013 the number of physicians in health houses has increased from 4,300 to 6,600. At present, there are 17,000 health houses in Iran all of which have at least one internet-connected computer that is also linked to the SIB network.

Pointing to another measure taken, Sayyari said, “Last year, more than 8 million students (mostly, primary school first-graders) received free preventive dental services including fissure sealants and topical fluoride treatments.” Placing fissure sealant on each tooth costs $11.5 at a private clinic. A $16 million fund was made available by the ministry for implementing oral health plans.  

Food supplements including vitamin A, folic acid and vitamin D supplements as well as Iron drops were distributed among students suffering from different kinds of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.