Impact of Electronic Medical Records on Patient Care: The Case of Butajira General Hospital

“In the past, I remember spending an entire day, and sometimes more, looking for patient cards. When a card cannot be retrieved, we sometimes make additional appointments for patients. Despite our best efforts to organize patient recording cards, finding those records in a timely manner was very challenging,” Mr. Kantebelay Girma said.

Mr. Kantebelay Girma has been a record room staff at Butajira General Hospital for the past five years and a head of the record room for the previous six months. This was one of the difficulties they encountered in the recording room years ago.

“Clients used to complain because it took us a long time to find a single document. All of those issues are now in the past, thanks to the EMR system we use for client information registration,” he explains.

Since September 2022, Butajira General Hospital has been one of the DHA-supported health facilities implementing EMR. All health professionals working there have begun to use the EMR system to provide services for patients and clients. Patient-related records are digitized and added to the system, saving physicians from having to resort to hundreds of pages to read a patient’s history. These modifications will make it easier for clinicians to update patients’ progress reports on time.

Dr Jemahika Anchalew, Medical Director at Butajira Hospital, said: “The system allows different staff to work on the same documents at the same time, which creates convenience, saves time, and ensures complete data documentation.”

By limiting confidential data viewing and editing access, the system can establish transparency and accountability in patient recording management. This is very useful when dealing with medicolegal cases.

According to Dr Jemahika, the system helps the hospital to minimize the cost of patient folders by 80 percent. Currently, the EMR implementation rate at Butajira General Hospital has reached 84 percent.

On the other side, Mekane Selam Hospital is a new addition to the implementation of the EMR system under DHA. Within just one week, installation and configuration of the EMR system was completed. The EMR system went live at four units of the hospital: the medical referral unit, the central triage, the non-communicable diseases outpatient department, and the pediatric outpatient department. EMR training was provided for 18 health professionals and12 health information technology professionals.

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