New Hope Hospital: improving patient care
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 when the building work had been done and some medical equipment had been bought and installed and already people were knocking at the gates.
We talked about two things: the first was the need for more equipment and Ensemble provided a loan that now means the hospital is well equipped, more so than anywhere outside of Bukavu. The second was 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.
In collaboration with Fjord we installed a patient management system called OpenMRS, an open source platform used in hundreds of hospitals around the world, especially in developing countries. It required a solar-powered local area network and server to run the application and tablets for the doctors, the receptionist, laboratory technician and accountant, but it has made all the difference to hospital management and patient care.
The combination of high value medical equipment and online patient care has given the hospital a reputation that has spread far and wide. Patients travel sometimes 80 kilometres to be treated, which in Kivu is a long and arduous journey. The result is that the hospital is often full and the doctors in demand for operations and maternity care and to treat the ever-present problem of malaria.
Three 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 afforded by the equipment and performance improvements enabled by OpenMRS have made a significant contribution to winning the contracts.