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Information Technology, a Solution to Ghana’s Health Sector

Articles

Tech World

June 3, 2020, 7 a.m.

I recently accompanied a friend to the hospital and I must say a very renowned hospital for that matter. I was taken by surprise at the cases such a well-known health facility was confronted with.

To my dismay, there were long queues, old rickety wheelchairs, use of old equipment and machines and to make matters worse unconcerned nurses who acted as though it was a burden to be taking care of patients.

How these health professionals managed to keep their cool was a wonder to me because I began to feel sick just by being there in that short time. There were too many patients in pain but could not be attended to because there were few doctors to attend to them. Moreover, the machines and equipment were inadequate to cater for the number of patients seeking treatment. To make matters worse, the tension in the environment reflected in one way or the other a manner in which the few dedicated staff related to patients.

In my disbelief at the situation in such a renowned health facility, a thought crossed my mind. Information technology is the solution! Information technology is required to solve the challenges in this hospital and others across the country confronted with similar cases. Switching to IT and computerization will enable several structured hospitals to be more efficient and aid in providing better service delivery to patients.

Developed countries are constantly coming up with new inventions to support the health sector, which has seen great improvement in the sector as a result of this. They have introduced AI into work which is making their work productive.

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence is one of the ways to improve the health sector in Ghana. Artificial Intelligence is a program that allows computers to sense, reason and adapt. It deals with large data sets, solves problems and provides a more efficient operation. This provides an alternative to administering health care and provides easier accessibility to information, improves healthcare and reduces cost.

We must deploy health technology in our health sector. Health technology according to WHO is the application of organized knowledge and skills in the form of devices, medicines, vaccines, procedures and systems developed to solve health problems and improve quality of lives. The technology includes pharmaceuticals as well as computer supported information. With this patients are treated socially so there is no need for the patient to form a queue just to see the doctor.

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) is a body which gives the department of health and human services the authority to improve the healthcare quality and efficiency through the promotion of health IT.

Health tech uses databases, applications, mobiles, wearables to improve their deliveries, payment and consumption of care.

Coming down to our level the challenge has to do with more of manpower and less of IT. Upon research, a member of the Chartered Institute for IT and project management mentioned that over ten million Ghanaians are capable in using the internet which is a clear sign that we have men who can use these grown methodologies to boost the process. According to him, if Ghanaians would stop the attitude of avoiding the use of new methods and embrace technology backed by political will to invest into technology the healthcare system would be improved.

He admitted that though it would be difficult in implementing new policies when there is a will and proper plans are in place those who are IT inclined can develop some advanced database softwares that would benefit the country.

Gradually, the world is heading to a dispensation where countries who are IT inclined are ruling the world and we must not be left behind.

The government on its part needs to support the health sectors with the necessary machinery to help make healthcare delivery better. Health professionals should also upgrade themselves in IT, while gradually switching to advanced methods of healthcare delivery. Long queues and lack of proper attention can be avoided if IT is introduced into the health sector in Ghana. Appointments can be fixed and accessed via mobile apps and even social platforms. AI must become the order of the day for easy service. Ghana is more than capable of anything once they come to understand the essence of technology for human benefit.

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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.

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