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.