Challenges and Opportunities in Electronic Health Records in Rural Nepal

Written by Bishal Belbase on December 20, 2022

Digitizing healthcare data

Vicky Chaudhary, a Digital Health Officer at Karma Health in Rajpur, Nepal, has worked tirelessly to deploying electronic medical records (EMR) in government healthcare centers. Rajpur is a rural municipality with 12 healthcare centers serving a widely dispersed population of around 30,000.

Karma Health, in partnership with the municipality, aims to connect data from healthcare centers with information collected by Community Health Workers using NepalEHR, an open-source EMR software. SunyaEk, a Nepali tech non-profit helped with software support and ASHA, a Japanese non-profit, provides hardware and software support for customization. The implementation of electronic medical records in Rajpur has shown initial success, but challenges remain.

Current state of Electronic Medical Records deployment

While there was initial excitement among healthcare providers, motivation has waned as the deployment of additional modules has taken longer. Some providers still rely on paper registers for certain tasks, and generating comprehensive reports remains a challenge. Resistance to change and concerns about increased workload contribute to the lack of adoption.

Analysis of stakeholders and processes

The success of EMR adoption depends on stakeholders perceiving the technology as useful and easy to use. However, there is no shared vision among stakeholders, and accountability and communication lines are unclear. The project has strengths such as agile implementation and user participation, but weaknesses include inadequate project management and overwhelming scope.

Recommended solutions

To ensure that Electronic Medical Records adoption is higher among the public sector health care professionals in Rajpur, the following approach will be tried moving on based on recommendations. 

By implementing these recommendations, the project can overcome challenges and ensure successful adoption of digital health records in Rajpur's healthcare centers.