Dr Shaukat Chaudhry, Nusrat Cheema
AFTER the failure of MDGs (millennium development goals), the United Nations member countries came up with the 2030 agenda called SDGs (sustainable development goals) which provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for the people and to the planet, now and into the future. Out of the 17 SDGs goals, goal-3 calls for good health and well-being, while the others which are about poverty, hunger, clean water and environment are too closely related to it. Like other developing countries, Pakistan too is trying to achieve this goal of advanced and standard healthcare through bringing structural reforms, increasing investment, improving governance, strengthening the institutions and introducing information technology in health sector. After realizing the need that incorporation of information technology in health sector has been inevitable, Pakistan has introduced the Hospital Information Management System (HIMS) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) System to revolutionize health sector. This initiative with earnest efforts of Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), has been started from the grassroots level at DHQ and THQ throughout Punjab and moving towards specialized healthcare to connect all healthcare sectors digitally per se.
In 1999, PITB was established by government of Pakistan at provincial level using IT industry, academia and cogent government institutions and later attached to the Planning and Development Department with the mission to create error-free, highly efficient and organized, thoroughly systematic and paperless environment inside the healthcare facilities. From patient entrance inside the hospital, HIMS accompanies the patient through Queue Management System (QMS), patient registration and recording patients’ vitals and history at the nursing station. When the patients move to the physician, it optimises patient care by giving complete record of patients’ laboratory reports, current medication, disease, family and medication history and patients’ current vital data saved in the system. Then medicine dispensation from the pharmacy is done by the help of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) so that pharmacist could choose the best possible medicines for the patient according to the diagnosis and other rudimentary parameters.
PITB has also provided Hospital Watch App to the Local Administration to check the working of hospital staff from Biometric Attendance System (BAS) to daily patient checkup per physician and daily use of medicines for the efficient performance evaluation of the healthcare staff to the enhanced service delivery at the public health facilities. Apart from this, HIMS is also serving as the backbone of the state-of-the-art health institutions like Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institution (PKLI) and Indus Hospitals in Pakistan. There is no denying the fact that this system has ensured transparency in the health budget estimation, making and utilization, quality medicine purchase and easy access to the patients essentially. Moreover, it has helped in across the board accountability in health sector by initiating Medicine Inventory Management System (MIMS), Local Purchase portal (LP) and Drug Testing Laboratories connected to the Drug Inspectors through Medicine Surveillance System (MSS). When we see the frequent medication errors like prescription, administration and dispensation errors being occurred mostly by the professional healthcare staff, we see HIMS as the last resort to succour the healthcare staff so that the ultimate goal of patient care can be achieved. Further, PITB has also introduced E-Vacc system for tracking vaccinators, Dengue Active Tracking System for mass awareness and for the policy makers to locate the highly alert areas to devise the effective preventive and treatment strategies. The Geo-Tagged medical stores, distribution and manufacturing units cannot escape the inspection through this system now.
The competent authorities of PITB Chairman Azfar Manzoor, DG Sajid Latif, ADG Saflain Haider, Director Khurram Mustaq and its qualified teams working in the healthcare facilities in Punjab must be applauded for their endeavours to make this system more acceptable, friendly and apprehendable for the users (healthcare professionals and administration) and beneficial for the public health. Such a team is acting as a role model to start this landmark in other provinces as well in the future. In a nutshell, HIMS has become the integral part of our healthcare system provided by PITB. It has provided the advanced, innovative and integrated solution to our healthcare issues. By providing the data of active polio, hepatitis and HIV cases, the medical decision making at the lower level to the medical policy making at the higher level has been revamped entirely. Thus, making this unprecedented model a success story is the only way we could fulfil our national obligation of universal healthcare and international commitment of SDGs. PITB Working on the vision of our honourable Prime Minister Imran Ahmed Khan Naizi & Respected Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid to uplift healthcare system according to western countries.