A Vision for Digitization of Health Data Through an Electronic Medical Registry in Punjab, Pakistan - the Foundation of Universal Health Coverage
Keywords:Digitization, Health Data, Electronic Medical Registry, UHC
AbstractInformation systems form the backbone of any organization, programme, or project. With the rapid expansion of technology, information systems used by the Governments have also evolved and expanded. In the case of Punjab province, the public sector, and especially the Health sector has seen an exponential growth of information systems. An integrated, robust, and comprehensive electronic medical records and registry system is required to streamline the flow of data as well as to improve the performance of staff, especially those who are working remotely in the field formations. Data accuracy will help the Government in planning better for the future, optimization of current resources in accordance with the need, reduction in pilferage of medicines and supplies, effective management of staff performance, and improvement in quality of services. All of these will directly contribute towards the achievement of the greater goal of universal health coverage for all. The proposed concept shall, once fully operational, be an individual centric database, whereby individuals can also log-in and access their own health records, right from conception. Multiple fragmented information systems are already in place in Punjab. An integration of these systems into a unified health reporting system i.e., the electronic medical records is proposed. This will be done in a stepwise fashion starting with one time registration of individuals and families, followed by real-time entry of any new information, including the health services availed by the individuals at any stage of their lives. The system will also have the functionality to register new births and deaths, as well as service delivery modules for each cadre in the health service delivery model of the Government. Private sector may also be included in the same system at a later stage. Administrative, monitoring, logistics and human resource modules will also be integrated within the same system. Data security and privacy will need to be ensured through appropriate legislations.
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