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EMR system to improve health care delivery in Sierra Leone

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation in collaboration with its partner, Smart Systems Sierra
Leone Limited, officially launched the pilot of an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system
at Connaught Hospital in Freetown.
The EMR system is a standard digital health records management tool used globally to
enhance reliable and up-to-date patient information which helps clinicians provide effective
service, reduce time wastage, improve efficiency and save lives.
The pilot program aims to test and refine the system before expanding it to other
Government-owned facilities.

MOHS and Smart Systems (SL) Ltd, have taken this significant step to help improve
healthcare services in Sierra Leone. Last week, a memorandum of understanding (MOU)
was signed to mark the official commencement of this critical project.
Maurice Ferenkeh Koroma, Special Adviser to the Minister, highlighted the relevance of the
system, the value it adds to the country’s health sector and encouraged medical
professionals to embrace its use.

“The launch of this pilot program marks a significant milestone in the journey towards digital
transformation in healthcare in Sierra Leone.”
He went on; “with the Ministry of Health and Smart Systems working hand in hand, we can
expect improved healthcare delivery, enhanced patient experiences, and better health
outcomes for all.”
Speaking of how the system will work and the quality of data it will capture, Mamoud A.
Idriss, Chief Executive Officer of Smart System, said that the initiative will serve three key
functions including digitizing individual patient records, automating the record management
process and data storage and linking that to health accounts which allows for electronic
payment of services at the facilities.

He assured the Director of Policy Planning and Information, Dr Francis Smart, and the
Hospital Care Manager, Dr. Kapuwa, that the system will be integrated with the District
Health Information System (DHIS2).
According to Mr. Idriss, the whole idea is to have one patient file that can be updated. He
added that they wanted to eliminate the need for multiple patients’ records across facilities.
“With this system, rats will no longer be a threat to patients’ records and we will be able to
get real and verifiable data around caseloads and disease burdens,” he points out.

It is hoped that the system will digitise various areas of clinical services, benefiting both
general outpatient and specialist outpatient areas. This will help streamline processes,
enhance efficiency, and improve overall patient care.

Doctors and other health workers who attended the launch, expressed excitement for the
new system but raised concerns over patients’ privacy and data safety and security.
In his response, The Smart System CEO, Idriss, says that it is more easy to breach paper-
based systems and records than it is to breach digital ones. He adds; “when it comes to
privacy, only those connected with a patient should have access to the records, which
addresses the challenge of any potential privacy and security concerns.”

In concluding, Special Adviser to the Minister on program quality, Maurice Ferenkeh
Koroma, said that the Minister is excited about this promising news and very much looks
forward to its full-scale implementation.

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