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Our Public Health Service needs urgent IT TLC (Tender Loving Care)!

A recent visit to a well-known hospital in Mauritius has shed some light on the red-tape that is suffocating the system, resulting in unnecessary queuing up and waiting, repetitions of medical tests and a waste of time in looking for past records among others, which end on a big note of frustration for all concerned parties. Basically, all these contribute towards a huge influx of patients who are trapped in this abysmal bureaucratic system. This situation inevitably reaches bursting point, which subsequently puts a lot of strain on the medical personnel, who are only human at the end of the day.
Since Mauritius is branding itself as a cyber island, it beggars belief why the public health system is not computerized yet. Indeed, there will be no need to manually go through patients’ past records, no need to have unnecessary medical tests done, no need to waste tons of paper when the patient is sent through multiple departments whose specialists write down their diagnoses on different paper sheets, no need for grubby notebooks to note down patients’ appointments. And the list goes on. All that is needed is some careful planning, will and funding, which would no doubt ease up the pressure in our public health service.
Speaking from my own experience, I have been told that X-Ray records, which are more than 2 months old, are automatically destroyed, meaning that I had to have new ones done. When the doctor inquired about my past medication, I could not really remember, so there was no follow-up, as he started me on a fresh medication course. If the system had been computerized, in the form of a database, the doctor would have had access to my past medical history with a simple click and a proper follow-up would have been ensured. The people at the registration counter could also greatly benefit as they no longer have to be submerged in endless paperwork and the archives department, which keeps on expanding exponentially, could at last have a break when the system becomes computerized.
Will that happen soon ? Time will tell, as we say !

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