Ninety health records personnel in the country at the weekend graduated after going through an intensive three-week modular programme in health records management facilitated by the Kintampo College of Health (K-CoH) and Well-being.
The programme, organized by the Centre for Health Information Management (CHIM) of the Ghana Health Service in collaboration with the K-CoH, attracted participants from both public and private health facilities in all regions of the country except the Western Region.
The sponsorship was mainly borne either by the participants or their respective health facilities. All of them were awarded certificates with 10 credits and 80 passes.
It was designed to provide refresher training for staff that were mainly trained through in-service training programmes and updated their skills in the current information management system.
The training included knowledge, skills and competencies in data management, introductory statistics, basic anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, disease classification, client reception and registration.
Dr Emmanuel Teye Adjase, Director of the College, said the design, implementation and maintenance of health information system were essential for any health care delivery system.
“Indeed the diagnosis and treatment of patients in health facilities is predicated on the availability of a reliable and sustainable system of patient data recording, storage and retrieval,” he said.
He emphasized the need to ensure an efficient health information management system, the availability of qualified and competent staff with the requisite knowledge and skills in information management, statistics and the relevant health science to enable them to work effectively in the health care environment.
Dr Adjase said in Ghana there was a specific cadre of health staff trained to perform the main functions of client/patient data capture, storage, retrieval, analysis and presentation, in addition to performing the general functions related to health information management activities.
He said currently, there were three educational programmes for training health records/information management staff in the health sector, comprising a two-year Certificate Programme in Health Records Management and a three-year Diploma in Health Information Management.
Dr Adjase said: “Both programmes are run at the K-CoH and the entry qualification is the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSSCE) or its equivalent,” adding that there was also the Bachelor of Public Health, Information Management, option offered at the School of Public Health, University of Ghana.
He said though the participants possessed an array of skills and competencies covering the areas of the programme and were performing their functions in the health facilities, they had not been formally certificated.
He said the participants were the first batch under the programme, saying that its specific objectives included training staff to understand the organisation of the health service and the role of the various health regulatory agencies as well as acquisition of skills and competencies in computer data entry.
Mr Nicholas Opoku Frimpong, Chief Biostatistics Officer of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, a facilitator, said would be able to come out with accurate, verifiable and validated data in practice because they had understood what data meant and its usefulness.
Mr Ken Ameovi Gbeve, Deputy Chief Biostatiscian at the CHIM, who chaired the programme, said because of the National Health Insurance operations and requirements, coupled with the technological and computer applications in health management and administration, health records and information management had gradually become a technical field.
He said it was, therefore, essential for staff in that sector to upgrade their skills and technical competencies to operate as qualified professionals.