Problems associated with preservation of patient health records among health information management personal in selected hospital in Rivers State.
Healthcare Centres were established as essential part of healthcare agencies and its main principles are equity, health promotion and disease prevention, community participation, appropriate health technology and multisectoral approach. This is why WHO (1980) initiated the “Health Promotion” program considered as an essential strategy in achieving the general objective “Health for all” health promotion for the population. Promotional and preventive measures require support from the community, health politics and multisectoral approach. These primary healthcare centres generate records daily and these records must be properly managed, maintained and stored to ensure their effective utilization by patients, researchers, scholars and other medical records experts.
Some of the values of medical records according to Akandji (2006) are to assess the performance of health care rendered to the patients. Provide data for statistical evaluation of cases to determine the strength and weaknesses of treatment processes. Provide information for training and educating health care providers through seminars or workshops, to protect the legal interest of patient, hospital and health professionals against litigation. Serve as reference sources where physicians can refer to previous cases to treat current and future ailments and finally provide information for research. No organization can achieve its goal
without maintaining its records and these records are the backbone of the entire operation of our primary health care centres. These records can be created either as tangible object or digital information. This view was supported by ISO (2001) as it noted that records stand as information created, received and maintained as evidence or an information by an organization or person in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business. All organizations and individuals alike generate records to serve as a guide to their activities. The success or failure of organization is determined by appropriate record keeping.
Records management according to ISO (2001) is a field of management responsible for the efficient and systematic control of creation, receipt, maintenance, use and disposition of resources about business activities and transactions in the form of records.
As a result of the dawn of new era in information and communication technology, computers and ICT tools are very crucial in managing bulks of records that was why Ogunfemi (2005) highlighted the role of digital bridge institute in promoting the compliance to ICT use in all facets of our endeavours. The DBI has the mandate to formulate and implement pilot projects demonstrating the application of ICT in the relevant fields of importance in Nigeria and Africa.
The medical records profession began following the effect of devastation of Second World War in 1945 motivated the government to introduce National Health Care Services and established “Medical Records Services” principally to collect, collate, and analyze statistic of the victims of Second World War as it affects Great Britain and its colonies (Akanyi, 2006).
Proper records Management leads to actual realization of the objectives of an individual or organization. To buttress this point Ogundele (2006) noted that bad management practice is the inability to obtain and use resources efficiently to realize stated objectives.
Primary health care centres in Zamfara state are constantly creating medical records in their bid to render health care services to the people in the state. The researcher conducted this study because primary healthcare centres provided largest percentage of healthcare services to the people of Zamfara State. The state has about 543 healthcare institutions out of which 522 were Primary Healthcare Centres.