14th March 2014 brought a new moment concerning the management of patient records and integration of various Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) clinics into one point of care Electronic Medical System at area 25 urban health center in Lilongwe, Malawi.
With the common saying that “ IF it is not documented , it was NOT done, Gift Malamula, a Chronic Care Medical record system user at the facility smiles at the deployment of the system.
Six months after deploying the system, Malamula, a clinician working for Karonga Prevention Study (KPS) a partner with Malawi’s Ministry of Health at the facility whose new focus is research on non-communicable diseases is one of the core users of the system and had this to say;
Gift Malamula: The system has strengthened record keeping.
“The system has improved storage of data and as opposed to manual records, it has strengthened the tracking of our patients and record keeping. For instance, we are now able to track patient’s blood pressure and purse rate for past clinic visits. Graphical features available in Hypertension and Diabetes enable us to track patients progress after enrollment in the program. Besides, patients are able to follow their medical prescriptions through printouts which are affixed in their health passports. We cannot also rule out the fact that our prestige as a facility and the nation has been boosted.
Graph showing blood pressure progress over time.
With financial support from World Diabetes Foundation (WDF)’s project in Malawi, Baobab Health Trust built Chronic Care System (CCC) based on World Health Organization’s protocol for the management of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Core to the system is the integration of several illnesses into one system such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Epilepsy and Asthma to manage patient outcomes. Thus the system allows for instant access to reports for these illnesses.
According to World Health Organization and Malawi’s Ministry of Health 2010 STEPS report on NCDs, increasing changes in life styles, chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) mentioned above, including , stroke, cancer, which were previously regarded as diseases of the west, affluent, rich, or urban people are increasingly becoming significant causes of morbidity and mortality in adults in developing countries, Malawi inclusive and yet in Malawi, community data particularly on risk factors (tobacco smoking, overweight/obesity, excessive alcohol intake, physical inactivity etc) is scarce. Deployment of the electronic system is therefore a step further in improving availability and access to patient data on NCD not only for the facility but also the government.
The system is currently piloted at a major referral Kamuzu Central Hospital and Area 25 Health center, both in capital Lilongwe.
- Over 400 patients registered in the EMR at one facility.
- Chronic Care Electron Medical Record Systems deployed at Area 25 Health Center and Kamuzu Central Hospital.
- 62 Health care providers trained in the use of the EMR.
Phase two of the project will see migration of Diabetes and Hypertension (DM) systems to Chronic Care System currently being used at Queen Elizabeth and Zomba Central Hospitals in the Southern region.
The World Diabetes Foundation aims to ensure that the system contributes towards strengthening of the information system for Non- Communicable Diseases’ Program in Malawi by submitting quarterly reports on cases, treatment, outcomes and quality of care.
Baobab Health Trust is implementing the project in close collaboration with the Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health Unit among others.