Effect of Electronic Medical Record Systems on the delivery of hospital services in Kenya: an operational efficiency perspective
Delivery of hospital services has been experiencing various challenges such as escalating costs of care delivery. Spending in healthcare is wasted due to operational inefficiency leading to poor healthcare outcomes. Health information technologies, such as Electronic Medical Records Systems (EMRS) are critical to transforming the healthcare industry. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of EMRS on the delivery of hospital services from an operational efficiency perspective. The study adopted a descriptive research design both in identifying factors that influence service delivery in hospitals and analyzing observed operational throughput, followed by both descriptive and correlational research design aiming to establish a relationship between EMRS and operational efficiency of service delivery in hospitals. The study gathered primary data by administering questionnaires to a sample size of 51 hospitals, 357 hospital workers which achieved a response rate of 85.71%. Findings revealed that factors that most influenced operational efficiency included; availability of ICT infrastructure (22.22%), lack of valued analytical skills among hospital staff (20.57%) and staff limited time to access information (18.37%). On the analysis of observed operational throughput, the most relevant measures were total patients served (27.24%), waiting times (22.65%), throughput times (21.08%) and costs saved (18.95%) and on the effects of EMRS on operational efficiency, the effects were; better decision support mechanism (11.83%), faster access of information (11.36%), reduction of waiting times (11.30%), improvement of commodity management (11.15%), faster lab results access (10.36%). Correlation analysis established a relationship where total patients served would lead to (2%) increase in operational efficiency, waiting time would increase operational efficiency by (3%), throughput time would decrease operational efficiency by (4.4%) and cost saved would increase operational efficiency by (5%). Through these findings the study recommends that hospital administrations should work towards building the capacity of the hospitals to improve on the use of EMRS through ICT infrastructure.