By Juliet Umeh
In all the ways technology has improved human activities, none is as important as the technological advancements in medicare.
From the invention of X-ray machines to advances in surgical practices, technology has made lives healthier and increased life expediencies.
In fact, technology experts say any healthcare facility without deliberate and concerted efforts to prioritise the development and integration of technological innovations in its clinical and non-clinical services may not be able to deliver quality healthcare.
Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, (Training and Monitoring), of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Dr. Stanley Okugbo said since 2018 that the hospital created a separate information and communication technology, ICT unit, to coordinate, organise and oversee all ICT-related issues like hardware operations, website redesign, and the hospital’s health management information system, health care delivery has become easier and seamless.
Okugbo explained that issue of missing case notes has stopped in the hospital as the hospital deploys data capturing machines.
He noted that medical records services is key to ensuring that patient flow is seamless and doctor-patient relationship is rewarding for both parties.
He said: “The management implemented interventions that improved medical records efficiency and effectiveness. Right from when a patient comes to the hospital to last point, everything is paperless. Patients are captured at this first point of call. Sometimes, they don’t even know that their photographs are taken because it happens very quickly. When they go to see the doctor, they wonder how their photographs were gotten, but that’s for identification.”
He added that the UBTH computerized its medical records functions at GPC, ANC and MOP clinics.
He also noted that concerted efforts were made to reduce turn-around-time for laboratory tests.
Okugbo said: “In general out patients, we see a 100 and 140 patients now because of the covid-19 pandemic. Otherwise, we see much more than that but with the Covid restrictions, we had to use the booking system so that if we have more patients, we rebook them for the next day.
“Emergencies are seen, those who are not emergencies can wait till the next day, we get their data and we book them till the next day and when they come the next day, they are quickly attended to.
Okugbo explained that if a patient comes in, the patient is given a slip that has a unique code and only the patient has the code.
He said: “So, the doctor enters the code and it displays the page, the doctor will see what the nurses have done and the details of the patient. Also, when the doctor generates a prescription, he has a code too, that is what he will put not the name of the drugs.”
*Computerisation of Lab
He explained that the institution computerised its chemical pathology, hematology/blood transfusion and medical microbiology.
Assistant Director of Medical Laboratory, Mrs Philomina Ogbogu, said aside the coding system which is also obtainable in the laboratory, there is also Intra-net, computer systems and soft-ware installation already completed for easy accessibilities of laboratory results by clinicians.
Ogbogu: “There is installation of a nano particle-sensitive chemi-luminescence immunoassay machine enabling rapid screening for transfusion transmissible infection, TTIs.
Turn-around-time for screening of blood and donors has consequently reduced from six hours to less than 30 minutes.”
On data preservation, the UBTH Head, Information and Communication Technology, ICT unit Osaigbovo Ehigiegba, said: “We have a central data base in the central administrative building where all works done here are backed up.
“We have three layers of back up. There’s online which is within the servers; the online outside the servers, and then the external hard drive which are run periodically. The idea is to prevent loss of data,” he explained.
Tech innovations to reduce medical tourism in Nigeria
UBTH said its priority is to make the institution a preferred destination for clients who otherwise would have sought medical care in other countries.
For instance, on cancer which is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria, the institution, the oncology ward has a specialized pharmacy in-situ, with two bio-safety cabinets which are housed in a “clean room” ensure the integrity of the medicines and protects the pharmacists and the environment from the harmful effects of chemotherapeutic drugs.
It said: “UBTH is the first hospital in Nigeria to dispense anti-cancer medicines using the microdosing technique that allows patients to share vials of these medicines.
“We have produced and installed a brachytheraphy machine, in a dedicated building which also has several treatment areas and administrative offices.
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