ICTs in e-Health Zimbabwe, Challenges and Opportunities.

computer society of Zimbabwe crd 7computer society of Zimbabwe crd 3By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito

The Computer Society Of Zimbabwe recently held a seminar where attendees had an opportunity to learn and share information on the impact, opportunities, and challenges of ICTs in e-Health.

Speaking at the event was Dr. T. Simbini BSc, MBChB, MBI of Health Informatics Training and Research Advancement Center (HITRAC) Department of Community Medicine, College of Health Sciences University of Zimbabwe.

He guided the guests through the practical and bespoke solutions to solve the imminent challenges faced by the sector.
Upon the identified problems, Dr Simbini said there was need for centralising databases and interconnecting information so as to have real time data updates and synchronized database to aid both the practitioners and patients at various institutes.

He said ,”Pharmacies with independent computerisation systems are creating verticalised data creating locked data base where pharmacies can not track history patterns of patients leading to drug abuse and unnecessary redundancy.
Amongst the key factors he noted:

• State of Verticalisation: Develop common standards “systems must talk to each other”
Standards allow systems to share meaningful health information
Need for e-claims, e-prescription, e-summary record standards
• Develop a common patient record; Allows for a patient master record
• Capacity development:Decision makers must be equipped with appropriate e-Health skills
• Build on Economies of Scale; Be aware of what systems organisations can leverage on
dr simbini 2
He also said Patients recycle procesess, especially when they move from one doctor to the other, at times even after a normal referral, they go through the same procedure they have already passed causing redundancy.

“In health we cant afford down times, the ATM can be allowed to be down but there is no way you can tell a patient that a life saving system is currently down so please wait for mantainace.”
He gave an analytical insight into these

• Leadership and Governance: Ministries of Health, ICT, , and Private and public sector stakeholders must come together with a common vision on e-Health and lead.
• Infrastructure: we must have adequate power supply strategies, increased and low cost connectivity, and build fairly advanced data centers.
• Workforce: we must train our health workers in computer literacy, our computer graduates in understanding health systems and in supporting robust health systems. software developers need to work on the wide range of tools required to make-up a world class e-Health system
• Legislation, policy and compliancy: We must develop detailed data protection and regulatory frameworks
• Strategy and Investments: we need to start looking seriously on investment models and how to encourage reliable and sustainable projects that can last the initial interest.
• E health has to be fundamental especially with our graduates because they need to be properly trained in ICTs even as medical professional. Security has to be implemented with confidentiality and security of patient`s information in mind because when such information is leaked or lost it has devastating effects.

Electronic leaks without compliancy may lead to information going viral online uncontrollably unlike in the paper systems where its much easier to control even after a breach.
Dr Simbini also disclosed that to computerize Parirenyatwa hospital, it will take more than $15 million and proper synergies will have to strategized to see the dream come true.

Here is More in Full pictures on the event straight from our Facebook Page!

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