1.1 Introduction

An automated patient record system is a computerized system that can aid in the electronic filing of medical details of patients. The system is important because health care sector is faced with a major challenge of managing health care record of patients such that it can be retrieved when needed. A computer based patient record information system, is an integration of patient information systems that captures and stores medical information such as: demographic, financial, and medical information from ancillary services such as registration, billing, lab, radiology, pathology, pharmacy, and transcription. Automated patient record system contains patient information, decision support, reference material, and payer information. To reap the full benefits of an automated patient record system, organizations must redesign current workflows and practices to evolve into efficient providers of care.

Automated patient systems are developed to meet the following objectives: improve quality of care, reduce organizational expense, and produce a data stream for electronic billing. These objectives are met through automation of medical records, connectivity, and data mining. Virtually every field of human endeavor is dependent on the computer due to its advantage of speed and large volume of storage.  Health care delivery centers need an automated system to enhance their operations. Considering the numerous benefits computer systems have to offer, hospitals and clinics are also taking advantage of information and communication technology, to boost their operations. Adopting the computer system to manage patient information presents many benefits as it saves time by quickly enabling capturing and retrieval of patient information when needed. Hospitals are now conversant with the critical role information systems play in enhancing their work steps. Time and information is a very important resource when it comes to managing patients and hence any technology that facilitates saving time and getting information will be well appreciated and this forms the basis of this study.

1.2 Theoretical Background

A major component of primary health care systems is the identification, collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of data. Data are necessary to effectively carry out the planning, management, direction, and evaluation of health care programs. All too often, however, this component receives a low level of attention due to the demands required for providing adequate health care services in a particular area. The focus of primary health care is to have available those resources -medical and support staff, supplies and equipment, pharmaceuticals, transportation -needed to address the health needs of the population. With these items representing major operational needs of the system and often requiring constant attention in order to carry out programs of the health care delivery system, the role of a health database or information system is often not adequately emphasized or fully integrated into the health care system.

The collection of data and the use of that data are, however, essential elements of a health care delivery system. Health needs of the population must be defined for data collection to take place and, once obtained, the data must be used in order to realize the benefits within the program. Otherwise efforts to provide health care may result in a significant waste of staff time, resources and funds. Where data are not collected, or collected and not used in an operational health care program, it may be that the value of the data are not recognized or that resources such as technical staff and equipment are not available to analyze or interpret the data.

1.3 Statement of Problem

This research study aimed at solving the following problems:

  1. Manual recording of patient information
  2. Inability of Doctors and nurses to get needed information of patients instantly
  3. Difficulty in updating the record of any registered patient.

This study aims to solve the above stated problems by developing an automated system which is a database application to facilitate easy recording and retrieval of patient record.

1.4 Aim and objectives of the study

The aim of the study is to design and implement an automated system for health care delivery. The following are the objectives of the study;

  1. To develop a workable computer based health care delivery system
  2. To make known the role of computers in health care delivery system
  3. To identify the challenges to implementing automated health care delivery system in hospitals
  4. To provide possible solutions to the challenges.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This study covers automated system for health care delivery using General Hospital Ikot Ekpene as a case study and it is limited to the health care record database information of patients.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The significance of the study is that it will bring to light the application of computers in the management of health care delivery information, identify the benefits, the barriers and possible solutions to overcoming the barriers to the implementation of automated health care delivery system. The research study will also serve as a useful reference material to other researchers and scholars seeking for information on the subject.

1.7 Organization of the Research

This research work is organized into five chapters. Chapter one is concerned with the introduction of the research study and it presents the preliminaries, theoretical background, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of the study, significance of the study, scope of the study, organization of the research and definition of terms.

Chapter two focuses on the literature review, the contributions of other scholars on the subject matter is discussed.

Chapter three is concerned with the system analysis and design. It analyzes the present system to identify the problems and provides information on the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed system. The system design is also presented in this chapter.

Chapter four presents the system implementation and documentation. The choice of programming language, analysis of modules, choice of programming language and system requirements for implementation.

Chapter five focuses on the summary, conclusion and recommendations are provided in this chapter based on the study carried out.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Computer based – the use of computers and specialized programs to automate a task that was initially done manually.

CPR – Computer based patient record information system, is an integration of patient information systems that captures and stores demographic, financial, and medical information from ancillary services such as registration, billing, lab, radiology, pathology, pharmacy, and transcription.

Health – The provision of medical and related services aimed at maintaining good health, especially through the prevention and treatment of disease.

Hospital – an institution where people receive medical, surgical, or psychiatric treatment and nursing care.

Information – Definite knowledge acquired or supplied about something or somebody.

Patient – Somebody who receives medical treatment.

System – A combination of related parts organized into a complex whole

Record – a collection of related fields that describes an entity.