Quick and easy access to a patient’s medical records is a vital component in facilitating improvements in healthcare.

The KZN Data Warehouse project aims to improve healthcare workers’ access to data in the province’s public health system, by making patients’ individual level data available. As part of its commitment to understand and intervene in the health and well-being of South African communities, Africa Health Research Institute recently donated IT equipment – including desktop computers, routers, barcode scanners, tablets, and printers – to 17 primary healthcare clinics. This infrastructure will assist in the implementation of the KZN Data Warehouse Project across 17 clinics in the Hlabisa sub-district.

Following the success of the Western Cape Data Warehouse project, the KZN Health Department has implemented a similar system to assist in data management processes. The programme consolidates segmented health information, and structures it to create individual patient records. The seamless access to this data set helps to facilitate informed face-to-face consultations.

The overall objective is to establish a provincial Health Data Centre in the KZN Department of Health, covering all health facilities. It also seeks to provide clinicians and service managers with comprehensive and accurate patient level data and expanded data science capacity to improve the quality of healthcare services in the province. This includes monitoring of individual patients and attending to the challenges faced when linking to care.

uMkhanyakude deputy director, clinical and programmes, Mr B.P Fakude (pictured above with AHRI exec director Prof Willem Hanekom) was in attendance to receive the IT equipment and he expressed the department’s appreciation for the support. “To have an innovative project like this will give us light into how we should be managing our data and ultimately clients – which is a step in the right direction for every health institution,” he said.

Mr SPN Mkhwanazi Hlabisa Hospital CEO (pictured above) expressed his excitement about this latest technological advancement in a rural area, and said it is a tool that they are grabbing with both hands as it will assist the clinics to better service their communities.

The implementation of this project will run across 17 Hlabisa sub-district clinics and eight Umdoni sub-district public health clinics. The success of this project will potentially see its implementation in other districts as well.

Top photo: AHRI and KZN Department of Health staff at the IT equipment handover. 

Story by Julia Ndlazi