Assessment of medical records storage and retrieval at Njovu Islamic Medical Centre, Wobulenzi
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The study was conducted at Njovu Islamic Medical Centre (NIMC) and it focused on assessment of medical records storage and retrieval. The objectives which were to; find out the various types of medical records generated and kept, analyse the storage of medical records, examine the retrieval of medical records, find out the challenges of storage and retrieval of medical records and propose the best practices in storage and retrieval of medical records at NIMC. The study used a case study research design while adopting a qualitative research approach. Some aspects of quantitative research approach were used. The researcher purposively selected the medical doctor, specialist nurse, clinical officer and the 2 records officers who participated in the study. Data was collected using interviews, observation guides and document analysis. The study found out that Njovu Islamic Medical Centre generated and kept different types of medical records which include referral letters, personal records, patient files, patient drug record, consent forms, discharge forms, admission sheets, nurse’s notes, laboratory test results, x-ray results, reports registers and many others. The study also established that the current record storage and retrieval system at Njovu Islamic Medical Centre is mostly manual though electronic records are also managed in the organisation. The respondents agreed that majority of the records are in paper form however, there are few records managed in electronic form. The records storage equipments include computer hardware and software, filing cabinets, storage boxes, and wooden shelves. The study revealed the various challenges of storage and retrieval of medical records at Njovu Islamic Medical Centre which include; limited record storage space, inadequate record storage equipment, dust, inadequate backups, insecurity of records, misplacement and misfiling of records and lack of a medical records storage and retrieval policy. The study also established the suggestions for improved storage and retrieval of medical records which include; more funds should be allocated to the records management section, more records staff should be employed, automate the record storage and retrieval system, updating the filing systems, designing an up-to-date disaster preparedness and recovery programme, division of work and regular cleaning and splaying of records storage facilities. The study concluded that though a record storage and retrieval system plays an important role in supporting records storage and retrieval, Njovu Islamic Medical Centre lacks one accompanied by lack of enough trained records managers and limited record storage space as the significant cause of delays in the search and retrieval of records. Thus the need to adopt a storage and retrieval system with qualified records personnel would improve records storage and retrieval. The study recommended that Njovu Islamic Medical Centre should carry out training of the records staff, automation of the medical records, proper management of medical records, recruitment of more records staff, increased funds to the records department, updating the filing system, purchasing more records storage facilities, sensitization of staff on proper records handling and developing a records storage and retrieval policy.