Delay in paperless health passports

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-The Ministry of Health and Social Services is in the process of finalising the implementation of the E-health project for state facilities that will provide for the use of paperless health passports at state hospitals.

“An implementation date will be announced soon,” spokesperson of the Ministry of Health and Social Services Ester Paulus told New Era in response to an enquiry.

The ministry estimated the full implementation of the E-health system would cost N$55 million when it announced the plan in 2011.

The new system would mean, “Patients’ health records will be stored electronically. It will make it easy for health workers to access the previous health accounts of patients”.

State patients would no longer carry health passports or treatment records when seeking medical attention, as their health information would be stored electronically and be accessible at all state facilities.

Instead, patients would be allocated a unique medical health record number, which would mean patients would no longer need to carry medical passports or treatment records.
Medical passports would be replaced by Medical Health Cards – with a photo of the patient – through which health workers could access the patient’s medical information.

“The patient’s medical information would be stored in the Integrated Health Care Management System in digital format without compromising confidentiality,” former health minister Dr Richard Kamwi said at the announcement of the E-health system in August 2011.

“Also known as the Integrated Health Care Information Management System (IHCIMS), the new system will play a significant role in the delivery of health care services as well as change the face of health care provision,” Kamwi said at the time.

Paulus could not give reasons why the full implementation of the E-health system had taken so long, and she could also not answer further questions saying, “That is all we can respond to for now”.

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