An electronic Patient Information System (ePIS) was rolled out in Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) on 18th April 2023 to enhance the country’s health services.
However, it didn’t work as expected on the first day due to many factors. The major factor is internet connectivity.
The official from JDWNRH shared that although doctors and health staff in JDWNRH were trained and briefed on the use of ePIS, however, when it comes to using it on the patients, it is completely different.
A lot of JDWNRH staff was using ePIS for the first time and in addition when everyone started logging in at the same time, the network couldn’t take it and people couldn’t log in and those who could log in, were waiting to even upload information on a single patient, said the official.
Especially from the lab, there were a lot of issues because ePIS has to be connected to each machine that they use and then each machine has to know what test is prescribed by the doctors and then the sample is taken till the report is issued and that also didn’t go well.
The hospital couldn’t test a lot of blood samples taken on the first day and so at least 30 to 40 patients had to repeat the blood test. And on that day, the system did not capture the patients’ phone numbers so the hospital couldn’t contact each patient to inform them. JDWNRH apologized for the inconvenience caused to the patients, the official said.
JDWNRH already has a system called Laboratory Information System (LIS), which was used for a very long time. They collect patients’ details through LIS and all machines are connected to LIS. Since for the lab, it either has to be connected through LIS or ePIS it is quite difficult as it requires a lot of settings and configurations.
The official shared that for the doctors and other staff, it was easy to get back to the normal ways of filling up details on paper or on ePIS but it wasn’t easy for the lab.
“We are still resolving the internal issues and to make matters worse, unexpectedly on the first day, there was a power shut down and they had to go back to normal filling up details on paper prescriptions,” said the doctor.
The hospital held an emergency meeting among the ePIS team and the management and decided to go slow with ePIS.
For now, every doctor will see two to three patients through ePIS, and continue the majority of the patients with paper prescriptions or health books. Pharmacies were also told to use and prescribe medicines through ePIS to those patients who were seen by the doctor through ePIS.
The IT unit in JDWNRH and MoH, have been working with the Gov Tech on this issue. It is supposed to improve but they are still having internet issues.
However, for ePIS, a new internet line connection has already been set up and it is expected that once this internet line is connected, there won’t be any problem.
ePIS is a comprehensive, integrated Electronic Health Record (EHR) system that encompasses all aspects of patient information management including demographics, diagnoses, treatments, medications, allergies, laboratory results, and imaging studies.