You are here

Novel open-source electronic medical records system for palliative care in low-resource settings.

Submitted by holger on Mon, 2013/10/07 - 10:58
TitleNovel open-source electronic medical records system for palliative care in low-resource settings.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsShah, KG, Slough, TLyn, Yeh, PTeresa, Gombwa, S, Kiromera, A, Z Oden, M, Richards-Kortum, RR
JournalBMC Palliat Care
Date Published2013

BACKGROUND: The need for palliative care in sub-Saharan Africa is staggering: this region shoulders over 67% of the global burden of HIV/AIDS and cancer. However, provisions for these essential services remain limited and poorly integrated with national health systems in most nations. Moreover, the evidence base for palliative care in the region remains scarce. This study chronicles the development and evaluation of DataPall, an open-source electronic medical records system that can be used to track patients, manage data, and generate reports for palliative care providers in these settings.DataPall was developed using design criteria encompassing both functional and technical objectives articulated by hospital leaders and palliative care staff at a leading palliative care center in Malawi. The database can be used with computers that run Windows XP SP 2 or newer, and does not require an internet connection for use. Subsequent to its development and implementation in two hospitals, DataPall was tested among both trained and untrained hospital staff populations on the basis of its usability with comparison to existing paper records systems as well as on the speed at which users could perform basic database functions. Additionally, all participants evaluated this program on a standard system usability scale.RESULTS: In a study of health professionals in a Malawian hospital, DataPall enabled palliative care providers to find patients' appointments, on average, in less than half the time required to locate the same record in current paper records. Moreover, participants generated customizable reports documenting patient records and comprehensive reports on providers' activities with little training necessary. Participants affirmed this ease of use on the system usability scale.CONCLUSIONS: DataPall is a simple, effective electronic medical records system that can assist in developing an evidence base of clinical data for palliative care in low resource settings. The system is available at no cost, is specifically designed to chronicle care in the region, and is catered to meet the technical needs and user specifications of such facilities.

Alternate JournalBMC Palliat Care
PubMed ID23941694
PubMed Central IDPMC3751569
No votes yet
Related project(s):