This case traces the evolution of the medical records system at the Immune Suppression Syndrome (ISS) Clinic in Mbarara, Uganda. After providing some background on Uganda, its HIV epidemic, and the general rise of electronic medical records and software, it explains the history of the ISS Clinic and its service delivery model. ISS Clinic had used paper records to manage care, treatment, and reporting needs until it partnered with the University of California, San Francisco on research initiatives. In 2004 ISS Clinic became a global health initiative beneficiary and the outpatient antiretroviral therapy center of Mbarara Regional Hospital. Offering free treatment, patient enrollment jumped dramatically. The clinic's electronic Access database was unable to keep up. The clinic secured a grant to implement a new medical record system, and leaders struggled to convince the physicians and other stakeholders of its value. The most clinically-relevant pieces were slow to be put in place, and new Ministry of Health regulations posed minor setbacks. At the end of 2010, the clinic had seen nearly 21,000 patients. Clinic research had contributed to more than 20 peer-reviewed articles, but the long-term prospects for the database were unknown.
Teaching Note available through Harvard Business Publishing.
Screenshot of an Electronic Form in OpenMRS, ISS Clinic. Source: ISS Clinic. (Exhibit 12 from "Electronic Medical Records at ISS Clinic Mbarara, Uganda" case.)
Learning Objectives: This case documents the evolution of medical records at an HIV/AIDS clinic in a resource-limited setting. A productive class discussion will allow students to appreciate what it takes to collect and systemize accurate health data for patient care and research, what it takes to implement an electronic medical system in a resource-limited setting, and the relationship between a health record system, clinical care, and public health.
Keywords: Management and operations, HIV treatment, health research, health information systems