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A Digital Roadmap for Smoother Healthcare Experiences in Kenya

Updated: Apr 10


Image courtesy of Evellean's images


The Pains of Patient Navigation in Kenyan Hospitals


Have you ever struggled to get help at a hospital, especially when you had an elderly family member with you? Imagine being in a large hospital and trying to find your way around the numerous hallways and hospital rooms. Even if the security officer or customer service representative does their best to assist you, navigating the complex hospital procedures could still be challenging. Fortunately, certain hospitals have patient navigators who can guide patients through the process to make it easier. However, sometimes patients have to navigate on their own because the navigators occasionally have a lot on their plates, particularly in busy hospitals.


When a patient finally gets to see the doctor, the session may be hurried and leave them with unanswered questions regarding the necessity and cost of any lab tests ordered. Even if the patient doesn't fully understand what is wrong, they'll follow the doctor's instructions and go to the pharmacy or lab as required. This process can be challenging since patients have to go through various service points. It can be more frustrating if they are unsure whether the facility accepts NHIF, and if they do, patients may face additional challenges when they realise their NHIF is inactive or covers only a percentage of the costs. The absence of timely notifications or readily available pricing lists compounds the problem. Better access to information could empower patients to address issues beforehand, preventing unnecessary complications.


The non-existence of visibility on wait times and operational hours also adds to the frustration, for instance, patients experience delays in receiving lab results and find that the clinic is closed by the time they return to the doctor. This leaves them with a difficult choice: contemplating whether to wait until the next day or seek alternative accommodations for the night, especially if they do not reside in that area.



Re-imagining the Patient Journey with Digital Health


These challenges are not unique to Kenyan medical settings but resonate globally, creating a universal concern for optimising patient experiences. In the context of Kenyan healthcare, patients often find themselves navigating through obstacles and enduring considerable wait times during each visit, raising questions about the efficiency and accessibility of healthcare services. In the era of digital health, a transformative approach is imperative to alleviate these persistent challenges and redefine the patient journey. Exploring innovative solutions in digital health opens avenues for significant improvements, enabling us to envision a healthcare landscape where patients encounter less stress and more seamless access to quality care.


How can technology be harnessed to streamline operations and enhance overall efficiency? What infrastructural upgrades are essential to accommodate the integration of digital health solutions? These questions underscore the need for a comprehensive reevaluation of existing practices, paving the way for a healthcare system that is not only technologically advanced but also patient-centric and capable of delivering consistently high-quality services.

                               

A receptionist registering a patient for a consultation


Leading the Charge in Digital Health: Savannah Informatics Global Health Institute Improves Patient Navigation


Savannah Informatics Global Health Institute is committed to addressing these challenges in Kenya's healthcare system through innovative digital solutions. We are actively pioneering the digitization of hospital processes, aiming to streamline operations, enhance patient record management, and facilitate improved communication. We are dedicated to patient engagement and empowerment through digital platforms, bridging knowledge gaps and fostering engagement while prioritising the seamless linkage to care for every patient. Our goal is clear: reshaping Kenyan healthcare with innovation, patient-centricity, and empowerment for a healthier tomorrow.

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