Healtcare thruogh technology
NEW HOPE HOSPITAL
Dr Pascal worked in Bukavu’s hospitals for many years to save the money needed to set up his own hospital in Kavumu, a rough town in a poor region 50 kilometres to the north. We met him a year ago. The building work had been done and some medical equipment had been bought and installed and already people were knocking at the gates. Some had walked for hours. Some died even as they were carried down the track from the road to the hospital buildings.
We talked about the need for more equipment and Luminosity together with Harriet Hall provided a loan that now means the hospital is well equipped, more so than anywhere outside of Bukavu. We also talked about the problems resulting from using paper to keep medical records. The system was time consuming and ineffective for the medical staff, records of returning patients were lost, and the paper tended to deteriorate in the damp climate.
Occasionally this meant that patients were not charged the correct amount for their treatment.
The doctor’s concerns about patient records coincided with the start of our collaboration with Fjord who investigated possible solutions and recommended OpenMRS, an open source platform used in hundreds of hospitals around the world and especially in developing countries.
With Fjord’s very practical help we installed a solar-powered local area network and server to run the patient management system, distributed tablets to the doctors and also the receptionist, laboratory technician and accountant, and provided training to all staff.
PROGRESS SO FAR
Open MRS is now integral to the hospital’s day-to-day functioning and the staff are able to instantly update patient records from reception through to consultation, diagnosis, treatment and payment.
A local developer has added modules to integrate the pharmacy and accountant and all patients since 1st January 2016 have been registered and kept updated. Demand for the hospital services is increasing, which in a paper world leads to problems but in no way challenges the OpenMRS system.
The professional service and reliable record keeping gives confidence to patients and also to those organisations that provide healthcare services for their staff. Three such organisations have now contracted the hospital, the largest of which is for one thousand employees of the United Nations. The doctors have no doubt that the care and performance improvements enabled by OpenMRS made a significant contribution to winning the contracts.