‘We Do Not Only Issue Cards To Patients’ – Health Records Board

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By: Mayen Etim

KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Zonal Director, Health Records Officers Registration Board of Nigeria, (HRORBN), North-West Zone, Umar Sani, has said the duty of Health Records Officers entails more than issuing cards to patients who come to hospitals.

Speaking in an interview with Journalists in Kaduna on Saturday, Sani, said Health Records Management is a profession like others and well recognized which one can build a career on, but sadly some Nigerians are not aware of this.

According to him; “Our programme has a curriculum and students are trained in schools accredited by the Federal and State Governments.
“But the problem is people are not aware that it is a profession whereby they could build a career and go on to become whatever they want to be in life.
“People think Health Records Officers are just card issuers in hospitals. No!  It is more than that. A patient starts and ends with us.
Zonal Director, HRORBN, North-West, Umar Sani, during the interview.

“For example, the issuance of Death Certificate is handled by Health Records. Sometimes you may have insurance claims, or litigation at such cases, we are contacted to provide records.  The Board also issue Birth Certificate and so many other records for research purposes.

“The importance of HRORBN cannot be overemphasized. We compiled the statistics and reports for hospitals management which are used for planning. It is these same records that are being used for research by doctors.

“Any time hospital management need information about any disease the Board is contacted.  The Ministry of Health relies on the HRORBN information for planning of the health of the nation,” he said.

On the issue of transmitting from manual to electronic health records, the Zonal Director said this has been given serious emphasis in the profession as it must adopt new technologies to move forward.

“With regards to Electronics Health Records, (EHR), most of the tertiary facilities e.g Teaching Hospitals, Medical Centres, Specialist Hospitals, among others have adopted the EHR.

“While it might not be felt mostly in General Hospitals at state level and, Primary Healthcare Centres who are controlled by the Local Governments, but serious efforts are being made to ensure that EHR are adopted at all levels.”

On challenges facing HRORBN, the Zonal Director said the major problem is funding the Board’s programmes as most Health Records Officers in hospitals are not IT incline.

He disclosed that most practitioners in the primary and secondary health facilities are not trained and the Board’s training syllabus covers the use of EHR.

“To this effect, the Board has mandated all accredited schools in the country running it programmes to use the EHR software so that students right from schools get acquainted with the software, to ensure after graduation anywhere they practice would be able to do better.”

On quacks in the profession, Sani said for now the Board is paying advocacy visits to health institutions with emphasis on the need for professionals that would serve the hospitals better.

He said there is serious progress in that direction as remarkable improvement has been noticed.

It would be recalled that the Registrar of HRORBN, Alhaji Mohammed Mami, had at inauguration of governing boards of health professional regulatory boards and councils last year, said the inauguration was significant because regulatory agencies could not function effectively without governing boards.

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