Health facilities go paperless

THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has embarked on a multi-million dollar project that will see clinics and hospitals adopting an electronic data recording system. The new system, which is still under trial stages at Mashambanhaka Health Centre in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe District, Mashonaland East province, will eliminate paper work at health facilities.
Health and Child Care Principal Director (Preventive Service) Dr Gibson Mhlanga said, “We are eliminating paper work and migrating towards technology in recording patient’s information.
“The system can be operationalised from the lowest level (in rural clinics) and patients’ health conditions will be captured in a computer system, which will make it easier for other Ministry officials to access such data even from an office in Harare.
“It (the new data recording system) will reduce the time spent on recording patients’ personal details, thereby creating more time for health workers to attend to those who require assistance.”
Dr Mhlanga said his ministry partnered the Research Triangle International (RTI) to raise funds for the project.
“The project will cost a few million dollars but we will strive to cover all the health facilities countrywide. We want every data collecting instrument to be linked with the electronic health system,” he said.
University of Manchester postgraduate student Dr Fortunate Muchingura said the new data recording system is important, especially in rural areas.
“For us to move with the times, we have to make sure that we establish new mechanisms that record every patient’s information,” she said.
In May 2005, the 58th World Health Assembly adopted Resolution WHA58.28, which established an e-health strategy for the World Health Organisation.
The resolution urged member states to plan for appropriate e-health services in their countries and in the same year, WHO launched the Global Observatory for e-health (GOe), an initiative dedicated to the study of e-health’s evolution and impact.

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