INFORMATION SYSTEMS SUPPORTING AGA-KHAN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL-NAIROBI

Any health institution in the present times must be dedicated in the proper management of information systems and data, to make sure that patient information is handled in the right manner. Failure to handle patient information in the right manner can lead to misdiagnoses and mistreatment of the patient. In the essence of this, information system infrastructure system available in a hospital should support the mission and the vision of the hospital as regards delivery of services. This paper aims at examining the information systems supporting the mission and the vision of the Aga-Khan University Hospital of Nairobi. The paper therefore looks at the information systems infrastructure available at the hospital. The paper will also show concern on where the infrastructure does not support the mission and vision and advise accordingly.

The Aga-Khan University Hospital in Nairobi is a premier and pivotal Hospital in the whole of East- Africa. The hospital started operations in the area in 1958 and is a not-for- profit organization. The hospital has several departments including radiology, dental, pharmacy, dietetic services, surgery and women’s services. The hospital also has outreach departments like the heart and cancer centers. The University hospital majors on two core functions which include provision of secondary level and tertiary level health services; and the provision of medical education and research to medical professionals schooling at the hospital. The hospitals vision is to be a recognized health care institution in East Africa and the whole of the developing world. The hospital also has a mission statement that revolves around provision of the best care to the patients, and also to contributing to the development of a health care system that is not confined to the hospital facility.

With the advent of advanced information technology, the Aga-Khan University Hospital has an established department that manages the hospital’s information systems; and is also mandated in teaching the staff members concerning developments in software. The information technology is the technology focal point of the hospital. Many staffs from the other departments get assistance on issues about IT from the department. The department is also responsible for management of wireless internet in the hospital, and the cable interconnections between the various departments. The department developed through the provision of supercomputers, and mainframe computers for the hospital. The department has also installed interconnections of minicomputers to enhance communications between departments.

The flow of patient information from the outpatient department and the casualty department at the Aga-Khan Hospital demonstrates the organization’s commitment to managementof information. Once a patient is received from the casualty department, the patient’s information is entered into the electronic records of the hospital. The staff from the other departments will be confirming the information before giving services to the patient. Notable is the finance department. Upon receiving service fee from the clients, the finance department of the hospital enters the receipt numbers in the electronic register of the specific patient. The other service delivery points will deliver services to the patient faster by confirming payments electronically. This enhances efficient service delivery, and is, therefore, in line with the institution’s mission and vision.

The diagnostic departments of the hospital like the imaging and the laboratory units are interconnected with the other units for ease in transmission of results. Once a patient’s results have been processed, they are posted in the patient’s portal in the online records where other departments can assess. This enhances speed in the delivery of services. One of the hospital’s mission statements is provision of health care with efficiency that is beyond patient’s imagination. These interconnections enable the institutions to achieve this mission statement. The doctors are able to assess such information and make diagnoses for the patients without delay.

To achieve its mission statement of being able to deliver care that is beyond the physical location of the hospital, the institution enables clients to book for services online. Through the online system, the clients are able to book for services, as well as for doctors and arrange on where they will get the services. In such an arrangement, the hospital staff can travel to meet the needs of the client at a specified place. In this case, the hospital achieves this mission statement through information system technology.

The patient’s progress in the wards is electronically managed. The nurses use the electronic nursing cardex, where they record information electronically to the system. This enables good management of patient’s information and enhances efficiency in service delivery. Reports from doctors ward rounds are also updated in the cardex. Nutritionists and counselors also update their observations in the electronic cardex. This enables coordination of teamwork for safety of the patient and the staff in the delivery of care.

The use of a software system for hospitals, Care2000, by the hospital enhances service delivery at the main points in the hospital. This system enables the institution toachieve various items in the mission statement, enhancing its realization of the vision of the hospital. The registration of patients is done systematically through a mastering index. Consultations and clinic appointments are integrated into the system. Admissions, discharges and transfers of patients are possible through the software. The software is able to integrate all the activities pertaining to the hospital from admission, through to the operating theatres, radiology, medical records, and finally to billing and discharge. Through this system, effective provision of health care is enhanced.

The information system also contributes in motivation of staff in the hospital. A motivated staff will lead to realization of organizational goals. The commitment of the organization to provide the staff member with updated equipment enhances this. Also, processing of staff payrolls is done electronically eliminating any possible delays. Requisition of purchases is also done through the online system. For accountability purposes, ordering of materials from the main store is done online. Contractual payments in the hospital are also done online eliminating the niches that would create loophes for corruption. Real-time online access by the clients and the other stakeholders enables the institution realize its mission and vision. To enhance security of information, the access is restricted to authorized staff members with user IDs and passwords.

The fault that the information management system has is on the area of training of staff. This is a system that has been introduced to an already busy staff. The seminars done by the IT department to train staff members is not very effective. The department has recently started webinars which are also not very effective. The recommendation is that the IT department is diversified so that it can have its members who will be responsible for every unit of the hospital. This way, training of staff will be more enhanced.

In conclusion, the institution has information system infrastructure supporting its vision and mission. This has greatly enhanced service delivery, enabling the hospital to meet its objectives. The only fault is in the training of staff, which is achievable.

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