UNRWA e-health to replace paper records

04 July 2013
4 July 2013

 Amman New Camp health centre staff are working on an initiative that will revolutionise the way the health centre operates.

A new E-health system is replacing paper medical records with electronic patient files, making life easier for both staff and patients.
The cumbersome paper filing system is a huge drain on staff time and frustrating for patients. At present, when a patient arrives at the health centre, they report to a clerk, who searches for their file. This can take anything from 15 minutes to several hours. With E-health, doctors can locate patient files in seconds.
Amman New Camp health centre clerk Yusra Abu-Tuaima says she can’t wait to use E-health. “It is so easy to use and will save so much time,” she explains.
The current system is not only time consuming, but also requires difficult physical work, with staff forced to haul heavy files around the centre.
“Look at me, I have muscles,” Ms Abu-Tuaima says, laughing. “Searching for the files also strains your eyes. E-health will also help us build better relationships with patients, because they won’t feel that we are wasting their time,” she added.
Medical officer Dr Ibrahim Mansara says E-health will bring about a quantum leap in daily operations. Immediate access to patient records will allow for more contact time between doctors and patients that will help build better relations between doctors and patients, resulting in better patient care.
E-health forms part of the Family Health Team Approach, an initiative that is improving the efficiency of UNRWA’s health services and the quality of care for refugees. Family health teams are medical professionals working together to serve a group of families. Families always see the same medical professional, which helps build mutual trust and more personalised service.
The Family Health Team Approach was implemented in six health centres in Jordan in 2012. All 24 health centres in Jordan will begin implementation by 2015.
The cost of implementation in Amman New Camp has been covered by a donation from the Government of the United States as part of a project that has reconstructed and equipped the two-story health centre.
Dr Mansara notes that the transition to the Family Health Team Approach is not easy. The E-health transition requires the migration of more than 60,000 patient files online, which has meant a huge additional workload for staff.
Senior staff nurse Maram Al-Awaldeh adds that staff are exhausted. Yet she says she’s very proud of the E-health system. “It will make life easier for the whole staff, and our patients,” she says.
Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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