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Relief as Kirinyaga County deploys patient records system to ease access

 Doctor consulting young patient at checkup visit for healthcare in cabinet. [Getty Images]

For decades, residents like Mary Nyawira, 42, a resident of Kagio town, had to carry a 32-page exercise book containing her medical history every time she sought medical services at Kerugoya Level IV hospital.

As was the case for millions of other patients in Kirinyaga County and some other parts of Kenya, the exercise book was the only existing record of her history. It carried prescriptions and doctors’ notes from one facility to the next.

However, this year, Nyawira was among the first patients to experience the use of technology to access medical services at the newly opened Kerugoya Level Five Hospital Medical Complex.

“I came to the facility and, for the first time in my life, I was not asked to buy an exercise book. My records were taken at the Outpatient Department and I was directed to the waiting lobby and then the consultation room where the doctor had all my records. When I reached the pharmacy, the doctor had already sent the drug prescription to the computer,” Nyawira said.

Governor Anne Waiguru has deployed the use of the Health Management Information System (HMIS) to manage all medical facilities in the county.

This has been crucial to population health management, as it enables healthcare professionals to view a patient’s medical history no matter where they are located. Clinicians are able to view and evaluate previous visits, tests, diagnoses and correspondence between other medics, allowing for more accurate and personalised care.

“Once deployed in every medical facility, this system will make consultations and diagnosis easier and more convenient for patients and clinicians,” Waiguru said.

The governor said HMIS has also helped the county address issues of drug shortage, by providing real-time information on stockouts and improving decision-making on drug supplies in all medical facilities in the county.

“Unlike in the past, where we could wait for respective health facility managers to send us reports of drug stocks, we are now able to get real-time information on the same, so we will know which drug needs to be replenished and for which facility,” she said.

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