The second ID attempt.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

News:

IGMH administration has announced that they will be introducing shortly a patient identification card that would expedite the provision of services to its clients. Any attempt by the hospital administration to improve the speed of service delivery must be acknowledged as a positive change.

We are nonetheless a bit more apprehensive in celebrating the story prematurely. We are reminded of a system of patient identification cards that failed 5 years ago. If implemented this would be the 3rd time IGMH is attempting to introduce patient identification cards.

At the time when IGMH started its services, well before the official inauguration, every patient was given an ID card and files of patient data were stored in the OPD appointment station. The system seemed to be going well during the pilot phase until the number of files increased and maintaining physical files became virtually impossible for the staff. That experience failed and the patient ID cards were phased out and maintaining individual patient records abandoned. Shifa, the first patient database of IGMH was thus abandoned.

Then in 2001-2002 IGMH again attempted to introduce another ID card system to coincide with the launching of their new patient and medical records database; a ready made and exorbitantly costly medical records database software that was superficially customized for IGMH. The ID cards this time were printed -in blue and white- at the time of registering for services at the OPD or IPD counters. The non-laminated pieces of paper carrying the identification information were easily damaged and lost. The system crashed in 2005 when the patient database got overloaded.

At present the system is riddled with multiple hospital medical record numbers allocated for every single patient. Every time a patient visits the OPD clinics he is given a different "hospital number"! Every time the patient reaches the casualty he is also given a different "hospital number". This has led to some of the more frequent visitors to IGMH having up to a hundred, or even more, hospital numbers!

The only area where the records tally a bit better is the inpatient medical records where thankfully patient records carry the same hospital number; allowing for retrieval of old files for reference where needed. This is not easy because of the poor filing system employed, nonetheless it is possible.

We hope that the new ID card system is a well planned system where the problems and difficulties of the past are addressed. For the new ID cards to be successful the medical records database has to be purged of the excessive, and potentially confusing data generated over the past 3 years.

It is our hope that the new ID cards would indeed improve service provision at IGMH. We urge Dr Mohamed Solih and those under his leadership to bring about changes that are more than cosmetic. Unless the actual medical services are improved, the institution fails to deliver.

Information on the past experiences of IGMH provided by an ex-IGMH IT staff who was witness to the events that are described herein.

Report filed by Huzam Ali

17 comments:

subcorpus said...

i carry all my hospital number in my cell phone and just show them the number when i am at the counter ...
thats the best i could do until they gimme a proper (long lasting) card ...
wonder when my med records would be centralized ...

.mini said...

its good that they try these stuff to improve eventhough they fail

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