The Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga has started, on pilot bases, the paperless system of health service delivery to facilitate fast and effective service delivery to its patients in and outside the Region.
The paperless system, which would gradually replace the folder system, is being practiced by the Hospital with patients who receive health care on out-patient bases, while those for admission still use their folders to access services.
Mr Zakariah Yakubu, the Head of Administration of the facility, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Bolgatanga, said as part of government's policy to digitise all sectors of the economy, the Ghana Health Service had tasked all health facilities to ensure the operation of a paperless system before the end of the year.
"So we are following the directive, after we had gone to under study the Koforidua Regional Hospital which has fully adopted the system".
He said the implementation of the paperless system would enable the facility to overcome certain challenges, "We would be able to improve on efficiency, cut down waste and reduce losses occasioned because of human error."
Mr Yakubu said the Hospital submitted its health insurance claims electronically in order to avoid human errors as such errors could disqualify the claims and deny the hospital of its payment.
He said the digitization would ensure the avoidance of any losses and the facility would get the full cost of services it rendered to patients.
The Administrative Head noted that some patients might have challenges adjusting to the new system and so management had tasked the public health unit to ensure that education on the paperless system was part of the daily health education they delivered to patients at the facility's Out-Patient Department (OPD).
"We are hoping that with time, everybody would get to know about this new system and cooperate with us to move on. Some people accept it, while others who are very much used to the folder don't find it too comfortable that they are attended to without a folder."
The Records Unit of the facility, which used to be crowded with patients waiting to take their folders was free as at 1500hours when the GNA visited the unit to observe the crowding situation after the introduction of the paperless system.
Staff at the unit said "this paperless system is good; we no more waste time searching for patients' folders. Sometimes we used to spend hours looking for folders, but now we just pick the health insurance card and key into the system and that is all."
However, there were mixed reactions from patients when the GNA spoke with them about their experience with the paperless system. While some praised the paperless system, others called for revert to the folder system.
"As for me, this paperless system is better because some nurses do not see the handwriting of some Doctors, and so this system will solve that problem and reduce the number of time spent at the OPD. I want to also appeal to management to increase the number of staff at Pharmacy unit," Mr Zakari Aloko, an Out-Patient waiting to receive his medication at the Pharmacy Unit said.
Madam Rukaya Anabila, a nursing mother, waiting to be seen by Doctors objected to the paperless system, saying the folder system was faster and much more convenient.
Mr Zakariah Yakubu, the Head of Administration of the Upper East Regional hospital