The path to improving the quality of laboratory documentation : (a case study from Cameroon)
AuthorWefuan, Fatimatou Kuhmbou
Health care systems nowadays are affected by quality problems, most of which occur in developing countries due to the lack of adequate infrastructural, human, and financial resources. This has also caused the data quality generated in developing countries to be often poor. As a result, most governments in developing countries are in the process of improving quality in their health care systems through the introduction of Information Technology (IT) support systems. This thesis explored the challenges and opportunities involved in the path to improving the quality of laboratory documentation in a Cameroonian hospital. The study employed the qualitative research approach whereby interpretive research methods were used during data collection. These consisted of participant observations, interviews, and document analysis. A total of 24 respondents were interviewed comprising of 19 hospital staff and 5 patients. The data was collected at the medical laboratory department of the Regional Hospital Bamenda over a period of two months. The theories of Information Infrastructures and Actor Network guided the study, that is, they were used to discuss the laboratory documentation, and the implementation of the IT support system in the everyday work practice. The study findings primarily revealed certain quality-related lapses in the laboratory documentation. For example, illegible laboratory test orders, common errors in laboratory test ordering and result reporting, just to name a few. It further revealed that IT support systems have great potential to improve upon the quality of the laboratory documentation. Thus, it suggested that a tailored IT support system could be implemented to address this issue. However, the greatest challenge discovered was the lack of resources to make this happen. Based on these findings, it was suggested that if resources are made available to implement this system, the socio-technical approach should be employed in order to ensure success. This is because this approach has proven to be effective since it does not only take into consideration the new technology implemented, but also the interaction between the technology and its users.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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