On Wednesday 23rd March 2022, KEMRI in collaboration with Nipon Electric Company (NEC) launched a cloud-based vaccination tracking system which will enable digitally storage of baby’s and mothers’ information including their vaccination schedule and complete medical history. This life changing innovation uses fingerprint, voice and face recognition taking into consideration a wide scope of people including person’s born with disability.
The launch officiated by Deputy Director Corporate Communication, Mr. Davis Mkoji, Dr. N. Muuo, who is the Principal Investigator and Mr. Yoshinori Koda from NEC. The study has converted the usual mother-child booklet into an electronic version that nurses and clinicians can now use to enter medical records phasing out the traditional paper booklets and this will be used for neonatal vaccination tracking in Kenya.
This research is aimed at evaluating the feasibility of a cloud-based vaccination tracking system for health information systems coupled with biometrics through registration of pregnant women and infants in Kwale-Coast and Mbita-Kisumu, Kenya.
During the launch, the Dr. Muuo stated that “in this current study, we will set up computers with the special web-based program in hospital facilities and register mothers and infants as they receive services in mother and child health clinics. During a mothers or child visit to the clinic, nurses will enter the treatment and vaccinations received by the mother and child into the system and continue to update the information on the subsequent visits. At the end of the study, we will interview nurses and mothers who used the system and collect their experiences and views about the usefulness of the system. The overall goal is to understand if the system would be an acceptable alternative to the use of the paper-based forms in health care settings and develop a best fit system suitable for the local settings where mother and child health services are usually administered. With further testing, improvements and widespread use, the system will ultimately be able to accurately retrieve important summary statistics such as vaccination coverage that are useful for planning health services.”
Mr. Mkoji, who represented KEMRI’s Director General congratulated the team for this coming up with this novel innovation that would transform the health care services in Kenya. He stated that “As KEMRI, we generate evidence-based research that can be used to inform decisions and change policy in the health care system in Kenya. And this is one of those research outputs that will see the neonatal care be positively transformed as far as vaccination tracking is concerned. This system will speed up and effectively enhance service delivery and also adherence to vaccinations scheduled.”
The use of electronic medical records and biometrics is gaining momentum in healthcare settings because of the value addition and easier access to patient data, improved workflow, better, improved coordination of patient, secure records, care among other benefits. In an effort to improve service delivery in health care settings, it is becoming increasingly important to adopt new technologies and further use them for monitoring and evaluation of service delivery. Participating health facilities will be issued with Notebook PCs connected to USB Finger Vein Biometric Scanners. The PC will access a web-based software abbreviated as WIRE where women and infants will be enrolled, and their Mother Child Health (MCH) clinic visit data inputted. The researcher will then capture the normal flow of activity at the MCH clinics and therefore recruit all attending mothers and children who consent to be enrolled into the system and update their health information during their subsequent visits to the facility. Additionally, we will capture multiple biometric traits (face, fingerprint, voice) of both mothers and children enrolled in the study. To evaluate the usability of WIRE, system users will be interviewed after we have enrolled and updated participant’s medical data for a period of 12 months. Additionally, the data captured on WIRE will be tabulated against that in MOH registers to check the level of completeness. This prospective longitudinal study will involve collecting personal data in an electronic format and therefore we will ensure all participants receive appropriate information about the purposes and procedures of the research.
Participation in the study will be voluntary with no consequences regarding their hospital attendance and service delivery. Confidentiality and anonymity will be ensured by separating participants’ identifying information from medical data at the server level. All electronic data collected through the EMR system will be password protected and accessible only to the principal investigator and authorized research personnel. When developed and implemented successfully, we will be able to reach remote areas where mothers and children were not previously registered in the initial phase. This study has potential of expansion to the national level if successful and might eventually be considered for all hospital or civil registration in Kenya. Cloud based data will enable patients to access their medical records anywhere in the world for continuity as opposed to the paper-based system which you had to carry your medical file anytime you visit a new health facility.