Seychelles’ public health system is well on its way to digitising its services and the project has now entered it’s second phase, said a top health official.
The chief executive of the Health Care Agency (HSA), Danny Louange, said that the original plan was to set up the health information system but “we are looking at something broader than just a health information system, but we want it to be a health management information system.”
The software of the electronic health system is being funded through a line of credit from the Indian government for around $4 million.
In December 2019, the Agency signed a contract with India-based software solution provider Manorama Infosolutions to begin the project.
Louange said that this was followed by a project planning and meeting in July 2020 where the health authorities set about the customisation of the software and its testing.
In March 2021, the reception areas in all government hospitals and clinics got on the system and the health authorities looked at the different issues that may arise.
This was followed in October last year for the electronic medical records (EMR) of the different clinics where the doctors entered the information in the electronic system.
Louange told SNA that the Agency “is looking at making sure that all the doctors are using the electronic medical records. This is a transition, while there are still some doctors using handwritten notes, all doctors have the capacity of EMR.”
He added that “since it requires training for them to get used to it, PHS is going from one health centre to the other to specifically train them.”
Louange explained that “access to the information is limited depending on the various roles in the health authority” for confidentiality purposes.
“While a doctor may access all medical files, in the systems, for the dentists it will be dental medical records and nurses will be limited to the nursing component,” he outlined the process.
The health authorities are now focusing on the outpatient component and in the coming weeks, the next phase will be on blood results going online.
Louange told SNA that this will link the labs with the medical records and will allow a doctor to view medical results online wherever they are.
Next will be the pharmaceutical sections, followed by sick leaves.
“Doctors will not need to fill up sick notes but they will rather be generated electronically. For instance, if someone gets a sick leave from the Seychelles Hospital and then visits the Baie Lazare clinic the next day, the clinic will have the information on hand,” explained Louange.
He said that it would be difficult to give an exact date as to when the system will be entirely electronic as there are the hardware and software components to take into account.
The Agency is still in the process of procuring the hardware needed – which are normal PCs that will have additional features of being on wheels for the wards and handheld devices that nurses will be able to use when doing their rounds.
“What is also important is barcode printers and barcode readers, which will help when carrying out tests such as blood tests. Once a patient has the tests done, the code will then be on their forms which in turn will reduce errors,” said Louange
He explained that this new approach will reduce duplication in the work carried out as there are currently instances of patients undergoing the same test twice as they have visited different clinics and all the information is not linked.
The same will apply for prescriptions and “if someone has visited a doctor in a clinic on Monday and has been prescribed painkillers, even though they go back on Wednesday, their records will show how much medicine they got on their initial visit,” added the CEO.
The servers are being hosted by the Department of Information Communication Technology (DICT) but there are plans for Agency to have its own separate server at its own headquarters.