OurHealth: New technology can improve health services

BETHLEHEM. ‘€“ New technology has shown a great improvement in service delivery at certain branches of the non-governmental organisation, Right to Care. Yet patients in the Free State still face long queues and overcrowded waiting rooms because the system has not been rolled out to the region.        

A recent Right to Care report showed that implementation of a computerised data system, called TherapyEdge, greatly improvement the patient management system.

Right to Care, which focuses on delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities, said they have seen improvement in the monitoring and evaluation of patients, including patients returning for regular checkups and collection of medication, since introducing the new system.

“We would like to bring in technology such as IT and computers as well as cellphones and telecommunications to improve the health care of all individuals,” said Professor Ian Sanne, Right to Care Managing Director.

TherapyEdge has been implemented at various Right to Care sites, including the Themba Lethu clinic in Gauteng. But despite the proven success and improved service delivery, there are no plans as yet to put it into practice in the Free State.

“There are no plans yet to implement TherapyEdge in the Free State as we do not have an agreement with the Free State government for such an arrangement” said Dr Seithati T Molefi, the Right to Care Free State Provincial Manager. She further went on to say “what we can do is to engage in discussions with the Free State government to implement the system at specialised sites only”.

TherapyEdge is an electronic system that Right to Care doctors and nurses use to capture clinical information directly during patient consultations. This system helps to keep all the records of previous and current visits of their patients. The TherapyEdge also enables a SMS alert system that sends a reminder to patients before scheduled visits.

This system helps prevent over-crowding in clinics which in turn reduces patient waiting times, and with data being stored electronically, it also reduces possible mistakes caused by nurses’ illegible handwritting.


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