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An Assessment Of Information Technology Skills And Training Needs Of Health Record Management Professionals In University Of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo.



Background to the study

In today’s global economy and competitive environment, information technology (IT) is becoming a widely accepted tool for multi – faceted development in all fields. Information technology (IT) is the bedrock for national survival and development in a rapidly changing global environment. The use of IT on individuals, organization and society is changing everything. The growing usage of IT is rapidly spreading through every sector. Its permeating effect is noticeable in institutions, government establishment, business organizations, homes and offices etc. The implications of these developments is obvious for the Nigerian societies in the sense that traditional way of doing things must give way (normal et al,.2011).

Health information management is one of the key factors that contribute to the strengthening of health care delivery in every country. Reliable health information leads to timely health policies and planning, which improves general health status of a country, as well as, serving as a vital element for individual health facilities in managing and improving health care delivery (Teviu et al., 2012). The use of information technologies (ITs) in improving the general management of health records cannot be downplayed. This is affirmed by the ability of ITs to capture, store, retrieve, analyze, and transmit large volumes of health records across various locations (Normal et al., 2011). The adoption of ITs in healthcare delivery, which could generally be referred to as E-health, has not only been crowed generally as eminent in improving the reliability and effectiveness of health records, but it has also been gloated for strengthening healthcare delivery systems through its various tailor-made innovative applications and programs such as the electronic health records (Yusif and Soar, 2014). Although the use of ITs in healthcare delivery is not a new global paradigm, its adoption and promotion has particularly remained relevant in resource constraint developing countries whose healthcare systems are characterized by severe financial, infrastructural, technical and human resource constrictions (Yusif and Soar, 2014). Studies conducted in various developing countries report that the use of Information and Communication of Technology ICTs in healthcare delivery leads to better access to healthcare facilities on the part of both patients and healthcare professionals and improved quality of healthcare delivery, which consequently translate into productive labor and the development of the country as a whole (Oyeyemi & Wynn,2014). Governments and various policy makers across developing countries have also recognized the essence of IT in improving the general healthcare of the countrymen, and particularly so, as many developing countries are striving to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Nigeria government is investing hugely in IT-based Health Information Management Systems in an attempt to improve healthcare and the general performance of public healthcare facilities (Mami, 2016). The adoption of Information Management applications in the Nigeria health sector has seen huge financial injections not only from government but also other private individuals like International Clinic Hospital in Kano, Abuja Clinics, and institutions as well as other international organizations. These counts for the numerous Pilot Information Technology Projects, albeit other fully matured project across a range of government health facilities in Nigeria, some of which in Nigeria are Federal Medical Centre Asaba, Delta State, and International Clinic Hospital Kano and Abuja clinics. The Vision of the Nigeria Government is to ensure the delivery of quality, affordable and up- to -date health services in an equitable and timely manner through the enhancement of the use of Information Technology Skills for planning, managing, and delivering health services.

Using Information Technology Skills to manage the administration of intricate information resources promises significant rewards, such as improved practices and cost savings. Several developments in IT implementation have taken place in healthcare organizations, with IT playing an increasingly significant role in its delivery. All these technological developments have been made in providing effectively functioning systems in healthcare organizations to improve record management services (Grimson, 2011).

Technology has introduced a new dimension to various fields of human endeavour. It is helpful in bridging information gap. (Van-Hoof et al., 2016). Incorporating different Information Technologist (ITs) into the healthcare system of developing countries is not all about modernizing the health system but it is about saving life by facilitating information, practicing evidence based decision, incorporating e-learning to remote health professionals, using it as a medium to access recent healthcare information, data handling and processing activities among staff (International Tele Communication Union, 2012).

The act of preservation and management of health records is an issue that has generated series on concerns over time because it require abundant resources including skilled labor, technological, and financial means, all of which can be difficult to procure in low –income settings (World Health Organization, 2012). Therefore, the need to develop organized new ways of providing efficient record services has resulted in a dramatic increase in the use of Information Technology (IT) based solutions in Health Record Management.

Statement of the problem

It has been observed that to receive medical treatment in most of our hospitals, the patients queue up for several hours from one unit of the hospitals to another starting from obtaining a new hospital folder, or retrieving an old one before consulting a doctor, to the laboratory unit for lab test then to the pharmacy to get the prescribed drugs and so on. With the manual processes involved in handling the patient most of them waste the whole day in the hospitals. Very often, patients leave their homes very early in the morning in order to be among the first group to see the doctor. Otherwise, they may end up wasting the whole day without due attention. This situation is discouraging to most patients and sometimes forces them to turn to non-professionals or even resort to self-medical for quick recovery (Udofia 2013).

The Health Record Management sector in Nigeria has not been able to tap into the full potential of modern information technology to improve on healthcare delivery due to the lack of re-training of Health Records Professionals (Hitachi Data System, 2012). The paper based method of keeping medical records of patients comes with a lot of challenges. With a huge number of registered patients, there arises the need for a lot of physical space to be able to keep and store the paper based medical records. Since these systems rely on the hand writing of individual professionals within the hospital (e.g. doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists etc), there can arise the problem of illegibility of writing which can make it difficult to access information at some other times. Accesses to patient’s longitudinal records are often times difficult and cumbersome. The lack of proper access has cost the healthcare industry a huge fortune every year due to   duplication and waste (Hitachi Data System, 2012).

Information is vastly more useable if it is in electronic form. Electronic information can be viewed as the raw material, which can then be made available to end users through a range of platforms. Therefore in Nigeria there is a dire need to strengthen the health information system through the use of information Technology skills on health record management through provision of appropriate infrastructure, hence, the need to assess information technology skills and training needs of Health Records Professionals in University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo

Objectives of the study

The general objective of the study is to assess the information Technology Skills and Training needs of Health Records Professionals in University Medical Science Technology Hospitals, Ondo.

The specific objectives of this study are to:

Examine the use of Information Technology by Health Records Professionals at University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo.

Evaluate the training needs of Health Records professionals in university of Medical science Teaching Hospital, Ondo.

Find out the challenges faced in the use of information technology skills by Health Records Professionals in University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo.

Determine the solutions to the challenges faced by Information Technology in health records management of University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo.

Research Question

Do Health Records Professionals at University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo use Information Technology in their practice?

Are there training needs of Health Records Professionals in the usage of Information Technology Skills in University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo?

What are the challenges faced in the use of Information Technology Skills by health records professional in University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo?

Are there solutions to the challenges faced by Information Technology in health records management of University of Medial Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo?

Scope of Study

This research works on the assessment of Information Technology skills and training needs of health records professionals in University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital, Ondo. This study is limited to Health Information Professionals. Health Records Professionals in major departments/units in hospital were assessed for this study. The study excluded every other health workers in University of Medical science Teaching Hospital, Ondo.

Significance of  the study

This study helps to know how Information Technology (IT) and achieving training needs of health records Professionals helps to achieve a better health records management system. This study contributes to the body of literature on Preservation and management of medical records in Nigerian health institutions. It also Provides a more effective and reliable tool for improving the management of records in the hospitals.

 Limitations of the Study

Nonchalant attitude of the respondents in filling the questionnaire

Delay in retrieving the questionnaires as a lot of time was wasted on that.

Operational Definition of Terms

Electronic Records (ER): It refers to records that are dependable on relevant machines for access or reading, which is computer hardware and software such as e-mails, database and word processing.

Electronic Medical records (EMR); It is the health-related information of an individual that is created, gathered, managed, and consulted by license clinicians and staff from a single organization who are involved in the individual`s health and care.

Electronic Health Records(EHR); It is the electronic record of patients health  information created and gathered cumulatively across more than one health care organization and is managed and consulted by licensed clinicians and staff in the individual`s health and care. Included in this information are patient demographics, progress note, problems, and medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunization, laboratory data and radiology reports.

E-Health: It is an amalgamation of health care system and Information Technology (IT) to enable better health and health care delivery.

Health Information Management (HIM); It is an Information system that is specifically designed to assist in the management and planning of health programs, as opposed to delivery of care.

Health Information System (HIS): It is a system that deals with storing patients information which can be gotten from patients records, surveys, health plans, and a host of other data sources. It comprises the entire infrastructure, organization, work force and components for the collection, processing, storage, transmission, display, dissemination and disposition of information in health care industry’

Health Information Practitioners: It refers to health information practitioners are professionals who design and manage health systems to ensure they met medical, legal and ethical standard (Medical and Health services managers, 2016).  but for the purpose of these research, health information managers are all those involved in retrieval, filing of case note and who give appointment to patients. This is inclusive of all health records staff

Information Technology(IT): It is a broad based term used generally to describe the techniques and technologies, methods and application which support activities involving the creation, storage and manipulation of information together with their related methods, management and applications

Personal Health Record(PHR): It is an electronic application through which individuals can access, manage and share their health information, and that of others for whom they are authorized, in a private, secure and confidential environment.


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