Digital Ghana? Chief of Staff launches electronic medical records system
A nationwide electronic medical record and patient management system has been launched.
It involves the networking of all hospitals, clinics and community health centres in every region including districts, as well as the networking of all agencies under the Ministry of Health (MoH) such as the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS).
At the launch of the project at the Trauma and Specialist Hospital in Winneba in the Central Region last Tuesday, the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, noted that digitising the health sector through e-Health solutions would not only modernise health care in Ghana but would also increase the nation’s competitiveness in the area of medical tourism.
According to her, Ghana will soon become a reference point for facilitating access to diagnosis and treatment through the centralised knowledge and experience to be made available by the data repository that would be created under the project.
She stressed the need for the creation of a health sector where all its systems, be they in service delivery and regulation of policy, were digitally connected.
Employ best practices
Mrs Osei-Opare urged health providers to ensure best practice policies and procedures were well established to encourage innovation and development, stressing that “we need to promote the development of standards to guide training and help the integration and application of computing, information and telecommunication technology the system offers.”
She explained that the project provided the opportunity to deliver a holistic approach to health services delivery by tackling the issue of documentation and allowing for greater collaboration and better management of National Health Insurance Scheme claims.
“Today, we in Ghana have decided to take the bold step of deploying technology to take on the challenges of universal health coverage, the health status we deserve as a country,” she pointed out.
She stressed that there was the need for the application of technology to generate the information required for the formulation of precise health policies that would enable the country to meet her needs, as well as formulate policies towards meeting the financial needs and creating the opportunity to provide basic services for those who are not captured by the health system.
Prospects of the system
For his part, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, noted that the prospect of sharing patient information electronically with other healthcare providers within a safe environment was critical to improving patient safety and quality of care.
He indicated that the introduction of the electronic health records provided an easy-to-use interface for doctors and health workers to undertake their time-honoured clinical and other patient management duties such as history taking, performing a medical examination, among others.
“The beauty of this is that all pieces of information about patients are to be stored electronically and can be accessed and shared through the electronic health records,” he said.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said the project would help find a lasting solution to current operational challenges regarding data management in the health sector.