Maharashtra: State hospitals continue to ail from health info system closure

The private firm-hired to digitally record patients' datastopped providing services in July after alleged nonpayment of dues of Rs 100 crore. The HMIS abrupt closure has affected the daily working of 16 state-run medical colleges and hospitals

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Monday, October 03, 2022, 09:04 AM IST
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Mumbai: It’s been more than a month since the Health Management Information System (HMIS) has been shut down causing serious trouble for the patients and hospital staff to get previous medical records.

The private firm-hired to digitally record patients' datastopped providing services in July after alleged nonpayment of dues of Rs 100 crore. The HMIS abrupt closure has affected the daily working of 16 state-run medical colleges and hospitals.

As a result, they are forced to keep manual records of patient's data, including storage of diagnostic reports.

A senior doctor from one of the hospitals said that the HMIS was the easy way for accessing patients' medical records as it included all information right from the time of registration at the Out Patient Department (OPD) or the casualty. Subsequently, their pathological reports were recorded digitally, too.

“All this data was very helpful for residents and medical students as it was readily available online for reference purposes. But it has been almost two months nothing conclusive has been done in this matter except for providing additional manpower who are working round the clock to manually record data,” said a teaching faculty member, who didn't wish to be named.

However, many senior doctors are still not comfortable with the HMIS, which was introduced in 2009. As the system has gone offline again, these doctors are finding it comfortable to work.

“We have arranged a few of our clerical staff. They are working in three shifts to ensure that registration of patients is carried out smoothly,” said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

Doctors said that long queues were formed as the staff returned to make manual entries almost after a decade of following the digital mode.

The situation became challenging as the footfall of patients increased with every passing day, due to suspected cases of monsoon-related ailments such as gastrointestinal issues, leptospirosis, viral infections besides Covid.

Also, there were cardiac issues and accident emergencies, and the stopping of HMIS IT solution services has led to collapse of the medical record system.

“The entire process of patient registration, diagnosis and collection of reports is now manual. Most of the time, treatment is delayed due to the wait for the hard copy of diagnostic test reports, which was not the case until July (till the HMIS was in working). The doctor and teaching head could immediately coordinate and begin treatment on the basis of the digital reports, which would get uploaded by the concerned department within a short span. Now, a ward boy has to be sent to the pathological or radiology department to obtain the reports which could take hours,” said a hospital staff member.

Meanwhile, the Director of Medical Education and Research (DMER) was unavailable for comments.

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