Electronic Medical Records: Tech Success!

Feature Photo: Dr Jim Morgan (Lamp co-founder) and Dr Barrère Hyppolite work together on the new OpenMRS system

Below: Staff training on the new system (Nick Sahagian on the far right);  Nurse Astrude uses the new system in the pharmacy

Low tech or high tech, the point is to provide the best medical care and the best transparency to donors that we can.  In this case, the Lamp is convinced that electronic medical records are indeed the way to improved care, analysis of local health conditions, and reporting.  To tell the truth, this is not the first time we have tried to replace our paper system with a digital one.  There is no doubt that the change can be a difficult one for staff to manage.  More importantly, the system itself must take into account the intermittent access and slow speeds of the internet in Haiti.  Our system, therefore, uses a local area network — only — to link the five laptops at the clinic.  That is, no internet connection is necessary, except for periodic back-ups.

It is, perhaps, a little early to claim “Tech Success!” but we are very confident that the new system is with us to stay.  Over the long run there is little doubt that it will improve patient outcomes through improved access to patient records and the ability to do focused and comprehensive follow-up.  Analysis of local health conditions — the ups and downs of cholera or typhoid for example — will be a snap and we will be able to report on our activities without having to stop our activities to do so (!)

Thanks to Nick Sahagian and Partners in Health (Boston) for their priceless assistance in this project!

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