Saint Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College is shifting to paperless electronic medical registration and documentation at the Center for Reproductive Medicine (CFRM). The Electronic Medical Registration (EMR) project was initiated and started 2 years back at SPHMMC with the objective of adopting a health information system that will automate the manual capture, storage, processing, and retrieval of health related information at the target service areas. It aims to improve quality of care, patient safety, staff productivity, efficient data access for a day to day operation and research, client and staff satisfaction, exchange of patient data securely between different service units and serve as a framework system providing smooth scale-up capability to other units based on the facility EMR migration path. As a first step SPIRHR (then Center of Excellence for Reproductive Health), in collaboration with SPHMMC formed and led an EMR steering committee from all major service areas in the development of the first phase of the EMR system.
The EMR committee was successful in gathering detailed requirements (mainly outpatient) to be included in the EMR system and compared and selected available open-source EMR systems close to institution requirements. The first phase of the customization based on the requirement was successfully implemented by a company based in India through the collaboration with the Center for International Reproductive Health Training –University of Michigan (CIRHT- UM).
SPIRHR followed and started pilot system implementation at the CFRM of SPHMMC in January 2021. Detailed system customizations were further made based on feedback from end-users ’ feedback during the pilot period of its implementation. Dr. Biruk Abebe, ICT and HIT advisor, describes the millstone to this great accomplishment “Electronic Medical Registration is now fully adopted by the center towards a mostly paperless environment. This remarkable achievement is made possible through the tireless effort of the CFRM staff and exemplary leadership of the Center”. He also notes despite the success, limited human resources, and lack of systemic procurement process of necessary equipment were some of the challenges during the implementation. Currently, the management is discussing the possible solutions to existing challenges to ensure sustainable and smooth operation of the system.
SPHMMC in collaboration with SPIRHR is now in the process of deploying the system at SPHMMC at large. An EMR task force with around 25 members is established to lead the deployment of the system. SPIRHR urges all stakeholders not only to support this exemplary initiative but also to take lessons to expand the initiative to other health facilities in the country.