Time to Comply with EMR Systems Standards and Guidelines in Kenya

A week ago I wrote about the then imminent launch of the Standards and Guidelines for electronic medical record systems in Kenya. The document was signed by both the Director of Medical Services (Dr. Francis M. Kimani) and the Director of Public Health and Sanitation (Dr. Shahnaz Kassam Shari). Another week has passed and the document has since been officially launched. It was the Director of Medical Services who launched the document on 3rd November at the Kenyatta International Conference Center on behalf of the Government of Kenya.

It has been argued that the existence of two Ministries of Health in Kenya has not been worked well for the country. However, it should be reassuring to note that the document is a product of collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Medical Services and the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCOP) which is placed in the Public Health and Sanitation Ministry was a key contributor to the document’s development. The Division of Health Information Systems (HIS) has been the leader of the effort as it pursues its vision to “Be a centre of excellence for quality health and health-related data and information for use by all.” For more on the division’s strategic plan see an older article I wrote in 2009. The Division of HIS is placed in the Ministry of Medical Services.

It is noteworthy that the EMR implementation initiatives have been driven largely by a need to run the country’s Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) programs more efficiently. Development of EMR systems has however grown beyond merely addressing ART programs.
The Division of HIS also envisions a country health care system with “EMR systems that support the provision of holistic health care while improving on health records management and contributing to improved quality of patient care.

It should be noteworthy therefore that the Division of HIS has taken the lead in championing implementation of EMR systems, not only for clinics with specific disease programs but also for an entire health facilities medical interactions.

In the previous post I highlighted some of the benefits of the standards and guidelines as well as some of the document’s weaker areas. A wide circulation of the document should in itself be a milestone for the government which is often accused of producing documents it fails to distribute widely for implementation and reference. In this post I shall rest at providing readers with a link to the actual document

Hopefully all stakeholders will start referring to it and complying appropriately - this is the line where I get to force relevance to this article’s title.