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Referral hospitals enrolled on centralized patient management system

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ten regional referral hospitals across the country have been enrolled on a centralized patient’s management system to enable the health ministry to track their service delivery levels and effectiveness closely.

The digitized Integrated Health Facility Information Management System-IHMIS is an innovation by the government’s Integrated Intelligent Computer Systems-IICS technologies. The system is meant to enhance efficiency and eliminate paper-based tools in the health service delivery cycle.

Caroline Kamasaka, a digital specialist in the Ministry of Health says the system is going to integrate the work of all departments in Regional Referral Hospitals to show the progress on patients management right from diagnosis, prescription of drugs, treatment and referrals onto the network that will be centrally monitored.

According to Kamasaka, the system has been deployed in Masaka, Mbarara, Naguru, Entebbe, Soroti, Lira, Mbale, Kabale, Moroto and Hoima Regional Referral Hospitals where all service delivery points and departments have now been equipped with laptops and desktop computers that will enable the staffs capture patients details in the digital system.

Kamasaka says the ministry is rolling out the project with funding from Global Fund Facility to build the network infrastructure which is eventually going to be expanded to all health centers IV across the country. She explains that they are also looking up to the new system to address prominent challenges of loss of patient details, high costs incurred on stationary as well as tracking the performance of health workers in government facilities.

Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health says the system is part of the government’s broad-based strategy to enhance the use of technology for purposes of increasing efficiency in service delivery in all its entities. Atwine has challenged the health staffs to fully embrace the new technology saying it will help simplify their work.

“When a mother comes, you will not need to move around looking for records. You will just get onto the system punch in a name and all the information regarding that patient comes and there is simplified continuity,” she says.

Dr Nathan Onyaki, the director Masaka Regional Referral Hospital is optimistic that the system will improve the hospitals reporting mechanisms and knowledge sharing among staffs since they will have an opportunity of consulting and getting feedback on time.  This, he says will eventually improve services delivery.

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