An alarming statistic from an American healthcare organization states that on average 195,000 people in the USA die in hospitals as a result of potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors. This number is far way high in sub-Saharan Africa were countries like Uganda have limited resources to have its healthcare system to a standard. This asserts that the problem is not bad people in health care, but it’s that good people are working in bad systems that need to be made safer. The process of storing patient data, medical staff information, procuring and tracking the usage of hospital resources like medical equipment and drugs is extremely flawed in low resources countries and approximately three-quarters of the record-keeping for these crucial items is still conducted manually, opening the door to inaccurate data collection, poor inventory accuracy and a flawed reconciliation process. Having unauthorized personnel in the health sector who pretend to be hospital staff has been on an increase in the recent years in most of public hospitals and this has put these facilities in large expenses.
Additionally, the increased number of medical devices and technology in healthcare facilities makes it necessary to be able to locate them the surrounding area. It is well known that many equipment in healthcare facilities lie around unused due to a number of reasons. There are cases were devices are kept in ward storage simply because the users are not confident about using them. It would improve the system if all the medical devices in the hospital can be tracked so that the reasons for them not being used can be isolated and solutions found.
2. HOW THE INNOVATION WILL ADDRESS THE PROBLEM
The Innovation was branded HOPITrack and it will use the technologies of identification by radio frequency (RFID) to contribute to the efficiency, efficacy and safety of all people in the health facility through optimizing health business processes, reducing errors and improving patient safety. From the admittance desk to the operating room, this project will emerge as a transformative technology in the healthcare industry through its application of RFID tags to must-have medical equipment, patient and hospital staff. Hospitals will then be saving millions each year through improved visibility, process flow and better asset utilization.
We decided to come up with a system that can monitor patients and the medical equipment in real time identification. This will involve the use of radio frequency identification (RFid) technology with transmitters in form of wrist bands for patients and receivers placed at various locations of interest that can send signals to the control room to match with the database for better locations. The wrist bands will contain an emergency button which will be pressed in case of need of immediate medical attention.
This makes monitoring of patients in hospital rooms like wards, reidiographic rooms, waiting rooms, pharmacy and many more easy since everything will be visible at the control center for better allocation.
In terms of accountability, the system will help to identify patients who have not cleared his/ her bills but leaving the perimeter and also keep track on patient expenditure.
The system is also aimed at maximizing physician’s efficiency since he/she can easily access patients’ data and equipment he/she needs to use easily. In this we wish to have clear location of all equipment’s location in the hospital.
The system therefore will have a great impact in low resourced countries mainly African countries since there the areas that handle many patients with less resources and poor patient management , this will reduce patient delays ,easy management and above all introducing technology in medicine for better service delivery.
It’s a team of five undergraduate students where four are biomedical engineering students from Makerere University and one other student is a computer science student from Mbarara University of Science and Technology. The team is headed by Ndyabahika Jethro (MUK- Biomed. Eng).