Implementing Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) in patient management has become increasingly vital, particularly in low-volume and remote health facilities, to ensure quality care. The efficient capture, documentation, and management of information are essential throughout a patient's journey, especially for those diagnosed with HIV. However, the existing reliance on traditional paper-based systems creates various challenges, such as information loss, substandard data quality, and cumbersome processes, all of which can have a detrimental effect on the patient experience.
Streamlining EMR Implementation for Improved Patient Care
Previously, EMR implementations for HIV management functioned on a standalone basis, with the EMR system hosted on a server within the facility. However, this strategy has proven to be prohibitively expensive, particularly in healthcare settings with low patient volumes. In such cases, the Return on Investment (ROI) is frequently delayed, posing a significant hurdle to effective implementation.
Progress and Expansion
To address these challenges, USAID Fahari ya Jamii, in collaboration with Savannah Global Health Institute, is progressively making the shift to cloud-based EMRs in 63 supported low-volume facilities across Nairobi and Kajiado Counties. Thus far, USAID Fahari ya Jamii, through the Savannah Global Health Institute, has effectively rolled out cloud-based EMR systems across 79% (50 sites), with another 13 lined up for implementation within the 2023 financial year.
Case Study: Amboseli Health Center
One such facility is the Amboseli Health Center, nestled at the heart of Kajiado County and bordering the stunning Amboseli National Park. This health center serves a catchment population of 10,500 and provides care and treatment support to individuals living with HIV. Poor data management as a result of paper-based record keeping has seen very minimal facility-level data analysis and utilization to inform quality improvement. There have been no regular data quality audits and reviews undertaken to validate patient information and guarantee positive outcomes. With the rollout and use of CloudEMR this patient population stands to gain significantly from this transition, which promises to enhance efficiency and reduce time spent in the clinic as well as enable follow-up, knowledge translation, patient safety, and quality assurance.
In conclusion, the deployment of EMRs in low-volume and hard-to-reach health facilities through cloud-based solutions is a transformative initiative that holds immense potential for improving patient management and overall healthcare delivery. The ongoing efforts to expand this implementation should be celebrated as a crucial milestone in ensuring that all individuals, including those living with HIV, receive the quality care they deserve.