YK Poudel 

After the successful a year-long trial, the electronic Patient Information System (ePIS) was launched at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) yesterday.

Sowai Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo launched the ePIS which will officially come into effect on April 18.

The ePIS system, which is also one of the main components of Digital Drukyul developed by Thimphu Tech Park, will maintain the details of the patients electronically.

Now, patients visiting health facilities will no longer have to maintain paper prescriptions or health books.

Sowai Lyonpo said that this would be streamlining the health system under one common portal. “The moment we launch this, the patients must feel the difference in the health sector. The ePIS will help in ensuring timely intervention to the patients with quality service and ensure patient’s safety with evidence-based reports.”

The system has anti-hack and backup features.

Acting Health Secretary Pemba Wangchuk said that this milestone would assist the ministry in reducing the risks of errors with comprehensive and up-to-date information. “The portal will be a medium of effective communication with greater patient engagement.”

According to ePIS project manager, Kinley Tshering, there are eight modules in the system with a feature of keeping specific confidential data limited to health officials. “Health workers working on paper, compiling and submitting reports to the ministry was cumbersome. With ePIS in place, the work of patients and health officials will be eased.”

“During the prescriptions at the hospital reception, the official will ask for the CID number as all the details of the patient will be linked with the CID number. Patients will also be able to see their details from the portal,” he said.

Yonten Tharchen, 43, a patient at JDWNRH said that the initiative was a significant transition with data stored in a digital system. “The health workers can now update every time a patient visits the hospital and ensure an accountable health system.”

“If we do not have to carry the paper prescriptions like before, it will be convenient for the patients. This system can keep an overall record so that the service delivery is well taken care of and frame health policies,” he said.

The ePIS, as part of the health ministry’s vision to move away from paper-based medical records and enhance the use of ICT, the health ministry started working on the ePIS system in 2016 and piloted it in Paro in 2017.

The project was supported by the Asian Development Bank.