A large number of hospitals are turning to technology, both as a cost-cutting measure and a tool to fend off competition.
Gertrudeâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Hospital has joined the fray with the adoption of a paperless system intended to reduce the time it takes to see a doctor in an environment where the difference between life and death is pegged on quick action.
â€œWe looked at our growing needs. How we can satisfy our staff and serve our customers better, how we can focus on revenue capture and control, and integration of medical records and patientsâ€™ portability to increase efficiency,â€ said hospital chief executive Gordon Otieno.
The new Kranium Integrated Hospital Management System (KIHMS) includes, among other features, online clinical notes, electronic prescriptions, decision support systems such as allergy and drug alerts, portability of patient records, and a clinical order entry system.
At the centre of the system are four main characters; a patient, doctor, nurse, and lab technician. A patient arrives at the doorstep of the hospitalâ€™s waiting bay seeking medical attention, after which a doctor keys in his observations.
An inpatient will be checked into one of the wards, where a nurse will enter patient data, gain access to the electronic medical records, review laboratory results and radiology reports, perform other â€œchartingâ€ tasks such as clinical progressive notes, history, nurses cardex, temperature pulse and respiration (TPR), blood pressure, and fluid charts.
Billing of medical procedures and surgical items is also performed automatically on a real-time basis.
â€œThere is that essence of time management with going paperless. Before that, simple processes like a nurse seeking lab details of patients would take up to two hours. Presently the most time needed is 30 minutes,â€ says Gertrudeâ€™s head of information services, Mr Allan Tollo.
The Kranium system was sourced from Kranium Technologies in India in 2011, and through a five-year partnership with Gertrudeâ€™s management and Kenyaâ€™s Technologies Associates, was implemented at a cost ofÂ Sh40 million.
â€œWe looked for a person who would work with us, be with us, and walk with us. We did not just want to buy software from vendors, the way some businesses like doing; we wanted something that we are involved in, to model it and benefit the hospital in later years. It is a success story,â€ said Mr Otieno.
The system is now known as Computers on Wheels (CoW) and consists of a laptop mounted on a medicine trolley which a nurse pushes with from room to room, attending to patients.
Each ward has two CoWs. It is web-base and, therefore, accessible within or outside the hospital.Â Connectivity is provided through a wireless network.
Security is paramount and this is addressed in three tiers. First, an access unit comes with an extensible authentication protocol (EAP), which prompts for a specific key to allow access.
The second level is based on active directory login credentials for domain access. Finally, in order to log into Kranium, a username and password must be provided. Access is based on the userâ€™s pre-defined roles.-Nation