It has been a good day!
Today Wes, Vincent (HMIS Officer at CHAK) and I drove to Kijabe Hospital (half an hour outside Nairobi) for a meeting with stakeholders and resource people in the development and deployment of hospital software in the area. But before I get into today's events, let me tell you a little more about the progress of the OpenHMIS project.
Since the beginning of the project, our goal has been to deploy our new software to two pilot locations, demonstrating a successful union of non-proprietary clinical records and hospital management software. For the past few months, we had both a government and a faith-based site on board for piloting our software, with priority on the faith-based site because of its adequate equipment and the existing relationships between our teams.
Recently, however, because of the growth of the facility, it has become clear that our initial faith-based pilot site is in need of certain systems and tools immediately, and so CHAK has gone ahead and implemented their alternate interim software solution, care2x, and as a result the health centre will not be prepared to test another set of software. While we, the OpenHMIS team, understood the need of the hospital to take steps to ensure its continued viability, we were nonetheless disappointed at the prospect of losing our primary pilot site, an important part of the project plan. We started looking at alternate locations, but many appeared to be much smaller and to lack the required equipment and infrastructure for the installation of our software.
We knew that there would be many questions to ask at the meeting in Kijabe, and we were praying for some answers.
At the hospital we met up with Dr. Steve Letchford, the medical director there. He led us to a conference room where we were introduced to a group of key people invested in the computerization of hospital records and business. Steve set the context of the meeting, reviewing our goals and desired outcomes, then handed it over to me, Wes and Vincent for a brief demo of the current capabilities of our software, which prompted many good questions about specific ways that the system could be used at Kijabe Hospital and other represented facilities.
The meeting was productive; we made plans for moving ahead with development, and we made several important contacts for learning more about the requirements of the upcoming system components to be designed and implemented.
We also talked more about a potential replacement pilot site, called Marira, a satellite of Kijabe Hospital. At first we were concerned that we would be starting from scratch in terms of equipment, but we got some indication that there may in fact be some existing machines and network infrastructure installed. Since Marira is not far from Kijabe (closer to Nairobi), we decided to visit their facility to see if they might have anything we could leverage for installing OpenHMIS. We were pleasantly surprised to find that they have several computer workstations and a network installed—enough equipment for an initial rollout of our software.
We set a goal today to have a basic version of our software up and running at the Marira facility in two months' time. The initial deployment will handle patient registration and basic cashier operations. This will allow us to begin to get real-life feedback about how the software works (or should work), and will give us a good platform from which to deploy new modules (e.g. lab and pharmacy) as they are developed.
We praise God for providing a good pilot site when we thought we might be without one, and for giving us capable and willing people to help us with this exciting project.