Kenya: Digitisation of Medical Records Begins in Nakuru

Patients' medical records will soon go digital as Safaricom and its partners pilot an electronic medical records program in Nakuru County.

The mobile-based digital health passport dubbed Afya Moja will be used by doctors to document and store patient information.

Patients will also have access to a copy of their own health information and will be custodians of whom they will share their information with.

This will in turn bolster quality care for patients by doctors who will get access to the history of their patient after they consent to that.

It will cost Sh1 for someone to use the service in selected facilities by dialling the USSD code *522#.

In the first phase of the pilot program, about 100,000 people are targeted to benefit from this new system which is under Telco's Technology for Development unit.

"What we aim to do through Afya Moja, is to make patient medical records portable so that patients and healthcare workers can access them any time they need them. We will be focusing on diabetes patients during the initial stages of this pilot as we move on to other patients with other chronic diseases," said Safaricom's Chief Corporate Affairs Steve Chege.

Security of information

Some eight hospitals will benefit from this pilot project, including PGH Nakuru Level 5 Hospital, Naivasha Sub-County Hospital, Molo Sub-County Hospital and Keringet Sub-County Hospital.

Other are Soin-Mogotio Sub-County Hospital, Kiptangwany Health Centre, Mirugi Kariuki Sub-County Hospital and Gilgil Health Centre.

Safaricom's Senior Manager in charge of technology and development, Benjamin Makai, has assured Kenyans who intend to use the system of security of their information.

"Privacy is the core concern and we will ensure that we abide by the government's laws as seen in the Data Protection Act. The patient is the centre stage and will give consent to anyone who has access to their digital files," said Mr Makai.

"Mobile as an enabler for health is still largely untapped. Challenges with patient identification remain across the ecosystem with difficulty linking patients to information. Afya Moja aims to address these challenge," said Steven Wanyee, Director of Biomedical Informatics, IntelliSOFT Consulting Limited.

The Afya Moja platform has been created by a consortium of partners including Safaricom, Savannah Informatics Limited and IntelliSOFT Consulting Limited.

Kenya in 2010 launched standard guidelines for Electronic Medical Record Systems in order to improve Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) use in health.

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