Hospital goes hi-tech with lab system that cuts misdiagnosis

Moi hospital

Technologists in Moi Hospital’s refurbished laboratory. File

Technology has cut the time patients take to receive laboratory tests from days to just an hour in a Taita Taveta hospital.

The Moi Public Hospital lab in Voi has been upgraded at a cost of Sh13.2 million to reduce cases of misdiagnosis and save patients', who travel far for medical tests, time and money.

Wildlife Work Carbon funded the lab upgrade while Pathologists Lancet Kenya trained the hospital staff on use of the computerised laboratory information system.

The Lancet-owned information system, called Meditech Lab information System, has been inter-linked with 150 other Lancet labs in Kenya and South Africa to allow pathologists and other specialists access the system to counter-check results, ensuring accuracy.

Moi Hospital medical superintendent Noel Mwasaru said the system and the refurbished lab has not only enabled doctors to offer better diagnostic services to patients in the county, but also eased the burden on patients who had to wait for long hours to get lab results.

“The ICT systems act as a checks and balances for us as healthcare providers,” he told Business Daily.

Moi Hospital is the busiest in the county with an approximate patient traffic of 1,750 a month and 2,800 lab requests.

The lab has new computers and uninterrupted power supplies systems.

Since the system was installed, Dr Mwasaru said revenue collection in the hospital has increased by 160 per cent.

“Before we would collect only Sh4,000 a day. On Tuesday alone we collected Sh24,000,” he said.

The project, which has been operating on a pilot basis for six months is awaiting an official launch later this month.

Lancet’s managing director Ahmed Kalebi explained how the system works: “The samples for testing are taken, a test conducted and the results posted on the system visible to the medical personnel with access to the system including a pathologist based in Nairobi Lancet offices.”

The pathologist in Nairobi comments on the tests run by the lab technologists based in the hospital in Voi, he said.

Dr Mwasaru said that the results are printed and given to the patient in an hour. Unlike the manual systems that had been in use before, patients are able to ask for previous test results without the worry of going through many files.

The doctors can also check the results from the comfort of their offices.

Dr Kalebi said that any information sent over the system is encrypted and passwords allocated to every person that has access to the system, ensuring confidentiality of the medical data.

The hospital no longer refers patients to Coast General Hospital for tests that could not be performed in the Voi healthcare facility.

Patients had to be sent to other hospitals to test for hepatitis, kidney and liver diseases. The new lab now offers 400 tests up from 30.

‘‘Sometimes it would take as many as 48 hours to get the results from Mombasa hospitals, a situation that delayed medical intervention and patient management,’’ Dr Mwasaru said.

Patients had to travel for about 160 kilometres from Voi to Mombasa for tests.

“The patients are happy now that they do not have to go that far for tests”, he said.

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