Ok, so let me paint you a quick picture before we get started.
Say you’re in charge of 2.9 million people and you have about 24 primary health-care facilities that provide access to services mainly for uninsured individuals. That means you’ll have to keep track of all records and service a large number of people at your facilities each month.
Still with me? Right…
Now imagine that some of the people have no form of identification such as a patient or ID booklet and they visit every month to pick up their prescriptions. How do you keep track? How do you know that the same patients don’t go to different facilities the same month to pick up the same medication? More so, files go missing and better yet, how will you be able to tell that the same patient has been to different facilities for the same prescription. That’s a bit of a pickle, ain’t it?
The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality found themselves facing the same dilemma. All patients who visited the Tshwane health-care facilities received treatment and medication, even if they didn’t present any official identity documents.
As a result:
- Patient record management became a challenge—the same patient visited different facilities every month to pick up the same prescription, bringing no or false identification.
- Recordkeeping became extremely difficult when providing prescriptions to patients who didn’t correctly identify themselves.
- Patients visiting health-care facilities without proper identification were at risk of not receiving the prescription initially prescribed to them.
- There were irrational use and wastage of medication.
- There were multiple incidences where one patient record was used to dispense monthly medicine packs multiple times a month on the same patient file.
- Health-care workers were put under immense pressure when performing their duties.
The Pharmaceutical Services Unit decided that the best solution for better patient record management was to integrate RxSolution with a biometric verification system that uses patients’ fingerprints, personal images and signatures to retrieve electronic patient records.
Together with the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality’s Health Department, the USAID-funded Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) developed an interface between RxSolution and Meniko’s biometric hardware.
Once this interface was developed, the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, in partnership with SIAPS, Innovation Hub, and Meniko, installed and implemented the biometric patient identification and records retrieval system.
Since then, the interfaced system has been operational in four piloting clinics: the FF Ribeirro, Lyttletton, Stanza Bopape, and Atteridgeville clinics. Meniko developed a dashboard to monitor the total number of patients enrolled using the biometric software and the number of patient verifications that have passed and failed in the system.
System integration between RxSolution and Meniko’s biometric software also enabled health-care facility employees to identify patients who visit multiple clinics and use false identification. Using the dashboard, around 486 cases of patient double enrollments were identified since the system’s installation at the four pilot sites. These 486 duplicate record files have since been deactivated.
As anticipated, this integration has improved the management of patient records, therefore decreasing the duplication of patient records and reducing medicines overuse, expenditures, and pilferage.
Isn’t it just better to have Meniko in your corner when such scenarios occur? Visit www.meniko.co.za and see if we can help you better manage and maintain your valuable information!
This story originally appeared on the SIAPS website by Bright Phiri, Katelyn Payne, Sifiso Mahlaba, and Jean-Pierre Sallet.