SITA speeds up service delivery through wireless technology
In a move that leapfrogs the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance service delivery, State Information Technology Agency (SITA), in partnership with the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI), has successfully completed a pilot project that involves the use of cellular phone technology in medical services administration.
The project will be implemented in disadvantaged rural areas that do not have fixed telephone line or Internet access to enable doctors to check prescriptions against nationally determined protocols and to obtain blood results from laboratories, among others.
The pilots were conducted with success at two government sites, the HIV/AIDS clinics at the Helen Joseph Hospital's adult section and Johannesburg General Hospital's paediatric section. The project aims to provide a value-add platform for mobile data and transaction exchange to the Department of Health.
"The success of the two pilot sites is indicative of the value that this system would add in the implementation of health services to the majority of South Africans especially with the ever-increasing number of mobile phone users countrywide," says Health Department CIO, Dr Shaheen Khotu.
Says SITA General Manager for Research and Development Dr McKay Motshabi: "Mobile and wireless technology offer a significant opportunity to take public service delivery to new heights while responding to the challenges government faces in the delivery of health services to even the most far-flung regions of our country. With the growing number of South Africans using mobile phones, this project would be a success story, once rolled out countrywide."
Although the system is a standalone, it can interface with the National Health Laboratory Records and other hospital systems such as Medicom and Patient Administration and Billing (PAAB) once complete, and the application is successfully operating in a "live" mode.