Advancing the AMPATH Medical Records System with real-time point-of-care feature
For many years, in developing countries such as Kenya, the health informatics infrastructure used paper-based data entry. Today, with the decrease in costs of technology, such as tablets, and the rapid introduction of affordable 3G internet throughout western Kenya, AMPATH now has the opportunity to roll out a real time point-of-care system to support clinical providers at rural clinics. Point-of-care provides real time access to the electronic medical records allowing patient records to be accessible during patient-clinician interaction. Additionally, this system enables AMPATH clinical officers to receive critical decision support in the field. Already, the point-of-care system has been introduced in 14 AMPATH sites, engaging 1,100 patients daily.
Point-of-Care is a new platform used with the existing AMPATH Medical Records System(AMRS). AMRS, a web-based open source medical records system developed for AMPATH, now holds the largest clinical data repository in Africa and is active in over 40 countries worldwide. Point-of-care can be accessed by a handheld device at three points of the patient's visit, namely outreach, triage, and the clinical consultation. In addition, the point-of-care system is linked to the laboratory making test results available to the clinician during the patient visit.
Any IT implementation is heavily dependent on reliable power and network connectivity; neither of which is consistent in rural Kenya. To support this effort, solar power stations have been built and 3G-based Wi-Fi networks have been created at the pilot sites. But to ensure 100% uptime of the AMRS point-of-service, with support from the AbbVie Foundation, AMPATH is now creating a pioneering cloud-based point-of-care electronic medical record system, which will be one of the first that the Kenyan public health sector has ever seen.