Ayder College of health sciences harbors a comprehensive specialized hospital that serves as a teaching hospital. Therefore, the college provides health care services besides academic, and research services that make the college different from other colleges of the University. Besides to rendering health care services to millions of people in Tigray region and neighboring regions, the teaching hospital is where medical students get clinical training, internship and medical research work.
It demands a strategic approach to realize an integration of academic and practitioner efforts. It is a unique environment with specialized ICT needs that serves as a ladder of integration and cooperation between the academy and practitioners' roles.
The schools and departments of the college provide services ranging from the teaching of basic sciences to clinical services to internships and medical research. Hence, the variety of services requires unique workflows and standardized operational procedures. The hospital automation needs should also be in alignment with the services provided. Internal process automation needs of a department, such as HR, monitoring and evaluation, and finance systems can be in one category. Besides, the implementation of well-known and standardized medical service procedures, data analysis, and statistical tools should be in place that each belongs to its own category. Digital medical devices and diagnostic equipment are sources of various patient data. Diagnostic imaging technologies, blood testing, tissue testing and other equipment are extensively used daily, producing massive amounts of data. As in many technological advancement trends, these tools are getting smaller to add to their ease of portability and getting cheaper, enabling patients to monitor their health status and, via body area networks, physicians can get alerted to observe their patient's health at any time and place. Usually, such tools are bundled with their own studio and console tools to enable the physician to operate effectively. But, in order to triangulate patient data in different cases of assessment, HISs utilize these data. Furthermore, the integration of these types of equipment with EMR and other health information systems brings a significant improvement to data quality and workflow efficiency. Finally, from the as-is assessment carried out and demands inventory, it is revealed that the college is in urgent need of the use of digital technologies so as to provide seamless academic, research, community engagement, and health care service.
Health services heavily rely on data use and data-driven evidence. Expertise recommendation with inadequate and minimal data is merely an expert opinion supported by a gut feeling. In addition, effective public health interventions are made out of massive health data with proper interpretation and visualization of ICT tools. Outbreaks are easily controlled by analyzing streaming live health data to observe signs of an epidemic. COVID-19 global and regional tracking technologies are good experiences to understand what ICT and IT systems can contribute. Out of the potentially extensive patient data that can be collected over time, we could conduct impacts of new drugs, e.g., related to certain patients’ characteristics. This could be a path to patient-centered medical services. A tremendous amount of cases can be drawn out as the current medical products and procedures, globally, have limitations on specific patient case handling. Furthermore, such data utilization requires not only data collection but ICT tools that can effectively process it to extract information and visualize it with easy pictorial and graphical presentations. Currently, the manual trend of data collection aggregation and computing values of indicators, for example, performed by HMIS department, may result in erroneous data and ultimately produce incomplete information. Indicators should utilize raw data from routine activities in an automated fashion for complete, error-free, and timely access to information.
The sensitivity of health services requires good skills in computer system use. Most user support tickets are straightforward users could apply themselves with a short training, e.g. troubleshooting network issues, and using computer peripherals and accessories. Physicians' typing skill is one of the major challenges in EMR use. Investing in digital literacy is an important determinant factor for successful ICT deployment. An ICT support system with limited human resources can benefit from continuous capacity-building programs. As more care services are digitized, capacitating end users will also benefit from the effective usage of ICT systems. Various interventions could be designed to conduct digital literacy programs. The college and the university, in general, can leverage the human resources available. Academic programs linked with technology industries such as CISCO, IBM, Oracle, and others also play an important role in sustained digital literacy programs. Engaging students in digital concepts and practices (Computer science, IT, Health informatics, IS, and similar academic programs) for basic training and onsite support can help to conduct such programs at the global, national, regional, and local scale.