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Why technology is key in improving patient public hospital safety

Health Opinion
 Businessman Kelvin Mutiso. [Courtesy]

It is the goal of every country to offer the best possible healthcare to its citizens across the board.

With this in mind, the Kenyan government has recently embarked on a rather over-ambitious plan to roll out Universal health coverage policy throughout the country. The policy embraces principles of equity, inclusivity and social solidarity.

As I understand it, Kenya faces serious challenges in the healthcare supply chain, understaffed hospitals, and financing among others. While it is good to provide Universal healthcare across the country, it is more urgent to integrate technological advancements into our public healthcare systems so as to enhance efficiency and improve patient safety.

One of the most common technological advancements across most industrial sectors has been Artificial intelligence and machine learning.

This basically relies on the use of algorithms to absorb large amounts of past and real-time data and predict outcomes while recommending possible treatment options. Current medical research proves that AI techniques can be integrated into clinical decision support systems to bring about efficiency in the delivery of healthcare services.

AI models rely on real-time data being entered by clinicians to predict unlikely events that might happen in future. For instance, AI can easily predict the risk of adverse drug events. This creates room for early detection and mitigation which therefore contributes immensely to patient safety.

It is my understanding that, despite the promising application of AI, absorption in our public hospitals is still very minimal. The world is seeing a global shift towards AI in healthcare systems and Kenya should be at the forefront of championing the same.

With AI, it is possible to shift our medical records in public hospitals to a cloud environment. Poor data management in public hospitals is a challenge that has made it difficult to render accurate treatment to patients. Incorporating predictive modelling in medical records can be a game changer in patient diagnosis.

There are many potential stumbling blocks that are currently threatening patient safety in our Kenyan hospitals including poor handling of patient data.

Our healthcare professionals should take advantage of the wide array of opportunities presented by technology to offer efficient and safe healthcare systems. Therefore, to transform the country’s healthcare sector, we must give technology a chance.

— The author is a technology enthusiast and a businessman leading Sakefa Group


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