Your medical history can be just a click away

The Daily Monitor, Uganda (Nov 12, 2009)

The ClinicMaster software programme developed by Wilson Kutegeka eases medical history recording and is helping track doctor-patient interactions, writes Mike Ssegawa.

Tired of carrying your medical history files each time you visit your doctor? Fortunately, you may not have to go through that hassle the next time you visit your doctor, but that is only if the hospital you choose has taken on the new software, ClinicMaster.

Wilson Kutegeka, a youthful software developer with Kampala Software Cluster, has developed a computer programme called ClinicMaster software, which makes keeping one’s medical history easy. What’s more, it tracks all the doctor-patient interactions.

Just by a click of a mouse, ClinicMaster software provides the doctor with the full medical history of the patient, right from their first visit to that health centre. It tracks the interface with the patient, from the front desk when the patient registers, to the outpatient after they are discharged.

This software is also a great tool for the health centres as regards delivering efficiently to their patients. The ClinicMaster software keeps track of the patient’s medical information right from bio-data, lab tests carried out, the doctor’s diagnosis and prescriptions, to service payments.

In other words, it monitors the operations of the healthcare centre, and the information captured can be used in the centre’s future planning process. For example, Kutegeka says that in a matter of seconds, the software can generate information regarding the commonest disease reported at the hospital or the amount of drugs used in a given period. Kutegeka, who has also won Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional (MVP) 2009 for this software, has deployed the programme at the Joint Clinical Research Centre, where it keeps track of the information and administrations on HIV/Aids patients.

Microsoft’s MVP award winners are individuals who are recognised by peers as well as Microsoft for past credible participation, highest quality answers and a demonstrated willingness to share their Microsoft technical expertise with others, while providing guidance and assistance in peer-to-peer technical communities worldwide. This is exactly what Kutegeka has done with his brainchild, ClinicMaster.

The benefits of clinicmaster
“When one goes to a healthcare centre, usually, a file is opened and information about them such as their name, age, gender, etc is entered, and filed in the cabinet,” Kutegeka explains. “In some hospitals, this registration process is repeated every time a patient visits,” he adds. It is important for the doctor to be aware of a patient’s entire medical history before giving a diagnosis.
Therefore, in the event that an individual loses their medical history files, ClinicMaster would be one of the best ways to do a follow up on the patient.

“Storing hard copies of patients’ medical data makes it extremely difficult for clinicians or researchers to make good use of that data,” he adds. A simple question like how many girls have been treated in the last five years could take several days to access at a health centre without computerised systems in place. In that case, ClinicMaster Software helps. Kutegeka says that in future, he plans to create a link between computers of all health centres that have the software.

This, he says would be of great help in case need arises for doctors at the different medical centres to share a particular patient’s medical history, and the patient has been treated at any of the centres that have the software.
In addition, because the software can keep track of medicine stock, it would limit cases of patients dying because a given health centre is experiencing a shortage of a particular drug, yet the same drug is available at another medical centre.

In the 21st century, Kutegeka says that managing health centres manually makes it too complex to monitor the flow of drugs, which could lead to over and under stocking. He says the solution to managing patients better in a health care centre lies in adopting a computerised health information management system. “ClinicMaster Software is a Ugandan solution for a Ugandan problem,” Kutegeka affirms.

How it works
Kutegeka defines what his software is all about. “ClinicMaster whose model is available at www.clinicmaster.net, is a new generation healthcare information management and medical billing software.” He explains that ClinicMaster automates patients’ transactions and daily procedures in the clinic. Currently, it’s being used by the Joint Clinical Research Centre to manage patients on ARVs. “ClinicMaster Software is more of a concept than a healthcare information management system because of its inbuilt intelligence with much more to come in the near future.”

The computer programmer says he is working on the system’s intelligence such that clinicians are able to use it as a reference tool. “They can for example type in a given illness, and the system will retrieve what there is to know about that illness. The concept applies to pharmacists as well, who may need to know all about a given medication,” he says. Kutegeka says the software will eventually interface with major medical equipment such as laboratory machines to automatically send and retrieve data to and fro that equipment. With information systems such as this in place, we could see more efficiency at health outlets and doctors offering diagnosis for patients, following their medical history.

Kutegeka says he does not mind installing the software to any health centre that requests for it. “We will be able to save lives, improve on our health facilities through conducting research on health conditions, track patients’ data from any healthcare centre in the country, lower operational costs and offer health services to our patients in the shortest time possible.”

Key features of the software
It has easy and simple interfaces meant for non IT professionals to use. This is because it was developed from scratch and not as software customised to manage clinical data. It has a comprehensive search engine that any basic user can use to make reports, a task that is usually reserved for IT professionals in most organisations. It has in-built intelligence, for example, its ability to calculate dosages. Also, on typing any illness, the system tells all there is to know about that particular illness. For government hospitals/clinics or non-profit making health care providers, ClinicMaster can be freely downloaded upon request. However, in case they need support in terms of training, there is a charge involved.