7 Innovative Ideas in Healthcare that Could Transform Nigeria

There are unlimited innovative ideas in healthcare that could be helpful in transforming the Nigerian Health sector. But rarely do we consider these as many hospitals in Nigeria are still holding unto the traditional approach to patient care delivery.

Statistics have shown that Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria produce one of the best doctors in Africa. The high standard of the premedical school exams in the country ensures that only the best students in the country gain admission to study almost any health-related course.

Why this does not translate to quality health-care in the country is still a bone of contention. The health care sector in Nigeria suffers much from the brain drains yearly, compared to other sectors. And this can only be because of the little attention given to the sector by the government. Hence, discouraging most thought-up innovative ideas in healthcare by these highly creative individuals.

With the right resources and attention to the Nigerian health sector, there is no limit to what the doctors and their cohorts can achieve medically. Because they have the brain and the manpower.

But in the meantime, there are certain innovative ideas in healthcare that could be adopted in Nigeria, with the resources available. These are from the standpoint of a Medical student, and many other countries have adopted it, and the results are promising.

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7 Innovative Ideas in Healthcare

1. Digitized Medical Records

Nigeria is still one of those countries in which the majority of healthcare workers still carry files and patient’s documents around. This has lots of disadvantages which could be prevented with the increasing unity in social media diversity.

Some of the disadvantages of include: 

  • Increased risk of missing folders
  • It wastes time as it must be carried around to reach various units
  • In cases of medical research, it more cumbersome to find files containing relevant information in the midst of other related files with similar information.
  • It is an environmental hazard, as waste folders and documents ought to be disposed of properly.
  • It occupies spaces in the hospital setting that could be transformed into something more efficient. Etc.

The above disadvantages obviously outweigh the potential disadvantages of using a digital database. Because if it’s digital, the necessary information needed to treat any patient can be easily assessed by other doctors relevant in the case with the passcode to the database.

The analysis of the digitized medical records will be published in subsequent posts on this magazine, where its full merits and demerits will be discussed in detail. But adopting it in all healthcare centers in the country will go a long way to ease the stress associated with health practice in the country.

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2. Emphasis on the 3D Anatomical Models

The study of human anatomy is a very essential part of studying medicine. Using my own experience as a reference point; there was more emphasis on the use of cadavers as compared to the 3D anatomy models in the course of my study. It is obvious that cadavers are more cluttered, complex, and uncomfortable.

But the 3D models have a way of illustrating perfectly, those structures that may not be well appreciated in the cadavers. One disadvantage which these models may pose is that it is very expensive, especially if it is the 3D printing model.

But overall, it’s importance in the teaching of basic human anatomy cannot be overemphasized.

Also, Read; 7 Reasons Why Nigerian Hospitals Will Do Better with Digital Medical Records

3. E-Consultations/Bookings

Another, of the innovative ideas in healthcare that could be considered, is the use of electronic media in seeing some classes of patients. This is usually referred to as telemedicine. It is very true that in consultations, updated history of the patient should be taken, with a proper medical examination.

But with the lockdown associated with the Coronavirus pandemic, we should have learned better that in such conditions, there are still patients who may need to see a healthcare expert in the midst of the pandemic.

But due to the fear of visiting a hospital in the heart of the pandemic, would prefer to hear from a doctor at a safe distance, and get an expert’s opinion as to whether they should visit a hospital or taken care of from home.

Apart from cases like the pandemic, an e-booking could also help a doctor to handle cases that may not require a presentation at the clinic. And even refer cases to their appropriate units so that on presentation to the hospital, the patient will not go through the stress of being referred from one unit to another.

This will also help to save time spent on sorting patient’s folders, or seeing patients from other units.

Also, Read; Telecommunication in Healthcare – Integration into the Nigerian Healthcare System.

4. E-Emergency Medical Response

Where there is no hospital, there maybe a doctor.

Entrepreneurs in the transportation industry have succeeded in solving the issue of people getting stranded while waiting for a means of transport. You may have heard of Uber, Opay, Oride, and the rest, where a cab is readily close by after you make a simple call or click a certain button on your mobile phone apps. What if a similar structure is adopted in our health sector for emergency situations both on the roadsides or wherever we may find ourselves?

What if all doctors are registered using such structure, in a way that wherever you may be with a mobile phone, any doctor with a mobile phone can easily find you if you land into trouble? At least you can get an expert to attend to you before being taken to a hospital.

Though this will come with many ups and downs, it will be analyzed further in subsequent posts on this blog. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletters.

Also, Read; THE ROLES OF MEDICAL RADIOGRAPHY IN PATIENT CARE, AND DELIVERY OF QUALITY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

5. Refining the Nigerian Traditional Medicine

One of the major problems being faced by the health sector in Nigeria is the disparity between Nigerian traditional medicine and Western medicine. Let us remove as much bias as possible in this discussion. Every Nigerian know how efficacious some of these medicines can be, but the problem is the lack of trust in the source of the medicine.

If we can focus on the good in the bad, associated with the use of such medicines, then we will make great waves in medicine. Before the advent of western medicine, these traditional medicines have sustained the whole continent of Africa for centuries. So it is a wonder how they are suddenly losing relevance and western medicine taking all their places.

If traditional medicine could be restructured and merged with western medical practice. And if there is a panel set up to screen all the patent medicine dealers in the streets of Nigeria, the life expectancy of citizens will rise by over a hundred percent.

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6. Robotic Surgeries

Robotics is a not so new model that has been renewing every sector of human existence it touches. Health practitioners in Nigeria should also give it some consideration, although there are many factors that may hinder its growth in regions like Africa. The first is the superstitious beliefs of the people, the second is the material resources, and many more.

One good question that will test the readiness of Nigerians for the adoption of robotic surgery is…

If you or a loved one is sick and in need of surgery, will you encourage the Physician in charge to use an automated robot to perform the surgery?

Also, Read; Career Pathways after Medical School: 6 Opportunities for Nigerian Doctors

7. Digitized Medicine Prescription

In a place like the United Kingdom, this is already a normal practice in many hospitals. Doctors can now type a prescription for a patient using software on their mobile phones and computers.

These prescriptions can be easily accessed in milliseconds by the pharmacists and nurses in the same hospital without the doctor moving an inch or saying a word.

This can be likened to the use of digitized medical records as described in number one above. As earlier stated, it will go a long way to improve the working condition of health workers in the country and also improve patient care.

There was an article written about the number of patients who die yearly as a result of misinterpretation of the doctors’ prescription by the pharmacists and nurses.

One cannot blame the doctor’s handwriting solely for this. You should also put into consideration their stress levels, coupled with their work environment in places like Nigeria. But if this new technology can also be adopted, we can flatline the number of deaths from such practices at point zero.

Also, Read; 12 New Courses for 2021 You May Consider in Nigerian Universities

Conclusion

Medicine should be satisfying as a profession. Even if it is for nothing else because health workers deal with human lives.

If these innovative ideas in healthcare are adopted, then the passion in young health workers may come back to life.  

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Dr. Lee
Medical Student, Blogger, I.C.T Geek.

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