In Practice

Affordable digital innovation to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission among healthcare workers

S Ntshalintshali, C Mnqwazi

Abstract


In the South African public healthcare sector, patient medical records are still written on paper and stored in filing rooms. There has been an attempt to move towards a paperless electronic system in many public healthcare facilities, but owing to lack of funding, this has been a challenge to achieve. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, the virus could be transmitted through the physical manipulation of patient records by various categories of staff who handle the records with or without gloves for protection. We discuss a digital option that has been partially used at Tygerberg Hospital (TBH), Cape Town, to avoid SARS-CoV-2 patient hard-copy record manipulation. It includes assignment of a QR code to every patient admitted as a person under investigation or confirmed COVID-19 case. The QR code is synced to one of the many free online medical notes smartphone applications (apps), which are password-protected with patient information privacy regulations (Trello is used at TBH), for daily medical notes review and editing. Upon discharge, all notes made during the patient’s hospital stay, together with the discharge summary, are printed to generate a hard copy of notes for filing to avoid violation of the current national and provincial patient records policy. Doing this means that a patient will have a virtual online file through the designated app until discharge, when a physical file will be made for storage and safekeeping. It will keep physical manipulation of patient records to the minimum, and potentially assist in reducing transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus among healthcare workers.

Authors' affiliations

S Ntshalintshali, Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Tygerberg Hospital and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Internal Medicine, Tygerberg Hospital and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

C Mnqwazi, Department of Internal Medicine, Tygerberg Hospital and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

SARS-CoV-2 transmission; COVID-19; Healthcare workers

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(7):605-606. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i7.14879

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-06-02
Date published: 2020-06-02

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