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 Friday, September 21, 2012
At Sengerema hospital, patients coming in for small treatments in the so called ‘outpatient’ department were often confronted with many difficulties. First of all, it was difficult to register as a returning patient because patient files were stored manually and it took quite some time, before a file was found. The digital system will also solve the problem of long tiring standing queues where patients were often pushing each other in order to get served first. With a new patient registration system in place, patients can wait to be called while sitting comfortably on a bench.

Moving to digital hospital management took some time. In the first phase, with the support of IICD, some key staff was trained and computers were already partially used in the administration office to for instance create schedules for nurses and computers were placed in an Internet café in the hospital. This allowed staff to already get familiar with computers. Then about 2 months before introducing the Hospital Management Information System (HMIS), 40 staff members were trained for 2 weeks in a basic ICT training that was focused on getting to know the system in simple way.

In addition to the reduced waiting time, another benefit for patients is that they now know better what they pay for. As there was not a general price list, pharmacists often worked with estimated prices. This meant that it differed what you had to pay depending on which pharmacist you would get. With the digital system, errors are virtually impossible. All products are priced in the system and patients now get digital receipts with the exact amounts.

For the hospital, the digital system also has financial benefits. Of course it costs money to implement, but it also raises money. The hospitals had to deal with patients not paying for their treatment and medicine, because of poor communication between the registering office, the lab, the pharmacy and the billing department or simply because of a hurry.  This lost the hospital a significant amount of money every day that could have been used for new hospital equipment or hiring specialists.

Now, it’s not possible for a patient to walk out without paying anymore. The doctor orders a certain medicine from the pharmacy for a patient digitally and then the billing department gets the information about how much this medication costs. Only after the patient paid the amount for medication and doctor treatment, will the computer system allow patients to pick up their medicines.

The system is cost- and energy efficient by using Ncomputing hardware. The big advantage of this virtual desktop solution is that multiple computer screens and keyboards are able to run on one computer. This makes the system very energy efficient and does not require a lot of maintenance.

(Source: IICD)
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