The County Government of Nakuru has entered into collaboration with a United Kingdom based software developer to automate medical records and revenue collection at all public health institutions within the County.
Acting Chief Officer for Public Health Services, Dr Daniel Wainaina, said the Elephant Healthcare Turnkey Solution, headquartered in London, will initially digitize delivery of services at Bahati, Langalanga and Olenguruone Sub-County Hospitals on pilot basis.
Speaking after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the digital technology firm’s business development leader, Ms Taka Awori, at the County Headquarters, Dr Wainaina, said the system has been designed to capture patient records, stock inventory, payments, insurance and reporting at all healthcare service delivery points.
“It also allows the patient access to his or her medical records through tablet, smart phone, lap-top and at cybercafés without being able to alter them whereas health practitioners are given access according to their roles in the cycle of patient care,” stated the Acting Chief Officer.
The Elephant Healthcare Turnkey Solution, has engineering and operations teams in Kenya, Pakistan and Lebanon. Also present to witness the signing of the MoU was the County Partners Liaison Officer, Dr Toromo Kochei.
Dr Wainaina said the project would complement the Department of Health Services’ efforts to automate all medical health records with the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system.
He revealed that gradual automation of payments at public health facilities in Nakuru County has led to an increase in revenue collection in the past three years from Sh 405 million to 957 million.
“Before we introduced automated payments, we used to lose 60 per cent of the revenue. Our revenue has more than doubled since we automated the system,” added Dr Wainaina.
The Sh 51 million automation project is being funded by the County Government and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
So far, automation is 95 per cent complete at Nakuru Teaching and Referral Hospital, and Naivasha, Molo and Keringet Sub-County hospitals.
Dr Wainaina said the cashless system adopted by the health facilities has enhanced accountability in revenue collection and minimized cases of corruption by sealing revenue leakages that costs the County millions of shillings every year.
Through the automated system, patients deposit payment for bills for medical services through bank agents and M-Pesa and are issued with receipts.
Ms Taka observed that the software which was low-cost is designed for the hardest to reach parts of the Country and can be deployed remotely within minutes.
“It runs on any internet connected electronic device with no costly servers to install. We have data security guidelines in place to ensure that personal and medical information remains confidential. High-quality data management is essential for effective decision-making,” she said.
“This modern form of transaction besides eliminating handling of hard cash enables health service providers to track the number of patients receiving medical services, the ailments afflicting them and diagnosis and treatment made by health practitioners,” she added.
Dr Wainaina assured residents that the County would consider people who had not adopted M-Pesa services.
He observed that Counties have been under pressure to increase their own source revenue and meet their targets in order to end over-reliance on the equitable share disbursed by the National government.
The Acting Chief Officer said the Department was also installing CCTV cameras to boost surveillance in revenue collection points and seal leakages.
Dr Wanaina noted that an increase in revenue will also result in increased exchequer releases to fund more development projects.
“More revenue collection means more funding for projects which will improve service delivery to our citizens. We do not need to increase the taxes but to only make sure we expand the revenue base,” he said.
By Anne Mwale