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Patients need national ID numbers to access services in new Mulago hospital

FILE PHOTO: Mulago hospital

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Patients visiting the newly refurbished National Referral Hospital in Mulago will be required to submit their National Identification Numbers to be able to access services, David Nuwamanya, the hospital Principal Administrator has said.

Nuwamanya says that the old paper records are currently being migrated and integrated into the new electronic system whereby one’s health information will be accessible online to the different medical departments once one’s unique number is punched in.

The project which is part of the bigger Mulago hospital renovation that was embarked on in 2014 to turn the complex into a specialized facility is being completed using a USD 2.09 million loan from the African Development Bank (ADB).

Already, a 70-kilometre cyber optic cable has been laid, connecting Mulago main hospital to the Mulago Maternal and Neonatal hospital, Kawempe and Kiruddu hospitals. What’s remaining so far, Nuwamanya says is for the vendor, an Indian based company Matra Technologies to install the remaining applications and then train staff on how to use the new technology.

This process which will enable specialists from the different hospitals connected to the Mulago database access patients’ information in real-time he says is scheduled to be completed by December. Nuwamanya says that patients will need unique identifiers, to enable the facility to access their biodata.

However, it’s not just the medical department that’s is being automated. Nuwamanya says under what they have termed as the Integrated Hospital Information Management system will involve automating everything from human resource management, billing systems, assets and equipment management to not only beat the bureaucracies involved but to ensure transparency and efficiency in the provision of services.

The design of the new system was zeroed on after making several benchmarking trips to hospitals in West and Southern Africa. However, migrating Mulago to paperless medical record-keeping started as early as 2006 when the administration appointed a committee to assess the possibility of establishing a computerized record system following complaints of confidentiality and loss of information which was said to be delaying medical decision making.

Now, it’s hoped that the new initiative will not only help patients get services quickly but will also enhance research and information sharing since young doctors will be able to access what specialists at the centre will be doing.

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