, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 14 – The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) has embarked on a five-year computerisation project that will cost approximately Sh4 to Sh5 billion to implement.
The initiative dubbed the KNH ICT master plan is a Public-Private Project (PPP) consisting of 70 smaller projects, mapping out the hospital’s ICT journey towards transformation for better revenue collection, efficiency and economy.
The Kenya ICT Board has partnered with the hospital to assist in identifying their ICT needs and seek funding for the projects.
“We will have a basic IT backbone that can run (KNH) and the other hospitals. We have designed the IT requirements, but now we’re moving to the financial structuring because we believe that the PPP is the best approach that can be taken,” said Paul Kukubo, the Kenya ICT Board Chief Executive.
“This is because the hospital will be able to generate some revenue while increasing efficiency. What they’ll save and make can actually pay for the system itself,” he explained.
The Investment Secretary at the Treasury Esther Koimett said the PPP Bill that is currently before Parliament is aimed at streamlining how private enterprises can engage with public institutions.
“Once it becomes a law, it will clarify to us as public servants, the framework of such partnerships and it gives us the confidence to be able to implement these projects knowing that they’re backed by law,” she stated.
The process to establish the master plan took four months from February to May, in which the contractor, Accenture Group, did an analysis of the hospital that included reviewing the strategy, processes and ICT environment to come up with a list of prioritized investments.
Some of the new ICT infrastructure that will be introduced includes health and back office applications, along with training.
“Automation will not replace doctors but allow for better service delivery, which is in line with Vision 2030 goal for the health sector to provide equitable and affordable health services to all Kenyans,” Kukubo pointed out.
Patient registration and the billing system have been identified as priority automation areas which will not only cut costs but increase the revenue base while sealing potential financial loopholes.
Other benefits are in helping improve standards of services and processes within the hospital; helping in creating synergies in the flow of information and data internally and externally, creating a shared service hospital model for the country, enhancing research as a further source of income and reducing patient turnaround time while improving work processes.
The next phase in development involves the opening of the project management office.
KNH is the largest teaching and referral hospital in the East and Central Africa region with a bed capacity of 2,000 and serves over 500,000 outpatients and 70,000 inpatients every year with a staff of 4,600.
Due to the inability by many of its patients to pay for services and the increased cost of providing healthcare, the hospital has faced challenges in adopting new technologies, especially in the administrative functions.
There is already a digitisation project ongoing at KNH courtesy of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in which four million records are being computerised at a cost of Sh33 million.
Besides the hospital, the government has also embarked on the process to digitise documents in the ministries of lands and immigration, the Judiciary and the Kenya Revenue Authority.