St. Francis Community Hospital, a faith-based Level 4 hospital in Kasarani, Nairobi, has moved to tele-radiology technology to cut waiting times and costs for X-rays and CT scans by getting real-time expert diagnoses from images that are relayed via high-speed internet provided by Liquid Telecom Kenya.
The remote reporting is delivering radiological diagnoses to patients at anywhere from a 20% discount to less than a quarter of the normal price.
(TOP: A patient undergoing CT scan at St. Francis Community Hospital in Kasarani, Nairobi Kenya. The hospital has adopted tele-radiology technology to cut waiting times and costs for X-rays and CT scans).
Dr David Kamau, the hospital’s Medical Officer in-charge said its goal was to provide efficient, quality, medically accurate, timely and up-to- date advanced radiology and imaging services at a lower cost to its clientele at a time when radiology specialists are expensive to employ and their time is limited.
“Before we introduced Teleradiology at the hospital, clients were referred to radiologists with images for interpretation and reporting. Patients would then come back with results, for treatment, but this was expensive and time-consuming. Now, the hospital is able to do CT scans and X-rays, send them to a radiologist remotely and get feedback in real time without having to employ the radiologists on a full-time basis,” said Dr Kamau.
Full-time radiologists typically cost over Kshs 500,000 a month to employ, whereas contracting radiologist per image via tele-radiology costs around half as much and is far more efficient for the radiologists too.
“St. Francis Community Hospital has partnered with health experts such as Africa Telerad, which provides the radiologists who deliver the remote image interpretation, diagnosis and reporting”, said Sr. Esther Mwangi, the Hospital’s CEO. “We are currently the only hospital in this area that offers this kind of service. The result is that we are the most affordable in the market for CT scan and X-rays.”
The hospital invested in high quality 16 slice CT scanner machine and installed a high-speed fibre optic network from Liquid Telecom Kenya. The investment has seen patients able to access radiologist’s services 24 hours without having to travel long distances. This has helped in improving service delivery to patients and as a result, the hospital has seen a significant increase in the number of patients seeking the specialised treatments.
Medical examinations for patients on a separate screen and additional support from off-site experts is also resulting in earlier diagnosis and quicker care, especially for non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, since doctors and nurses have access to the relevant information they need to make well-grounded recommendations for patients’ treatment and management.
“Having this kind of service in the hospital requires an uninterrupted Internet connection 24 hours a day. With the Liquid Telecom fibre connection, we have an uptime of 99%,” said Fred Mumo, the hospital’s IT Manager.
The hospital serves about 300 outpatients a day and an in-patient bed capacity of 150. The hospital also runs various specialiaed clinics that include an orthopaedic clinic, a surgical outpatient clinic, obstetrics/gynaecology clinic, pediatric outpatient clinic, medical outpatient clinic, ear, nose and throat clinic, dermatology clinic, psychiatry clinic, dental clinic, eye clinic, neurosurgical clinic and cardiology clinic.
It also has 24-hour laboratory support; surgical and maternity theatres adequately equipped to handle all types of surgeries and upcoming HDU/ICU and renal services centre. This is made possible by a team of highly qualified and experienced consultants.
“Facilitating such a marked upgrading in medical services aligns firmly with our mission of transforming lives through delivering the highest quality of internet,” said Adil Youssefi, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya. “New technologies and new models of care are reshaping the way health experts engage with their colleagues and patients, and offering cost effective solutions that are able to deliver far more while managing limited resources.”
Plans are also underway to provide St. Francis Community Hospital with Liquid Telecom’s cloud-based IT services that will enable it to adopt a Hospital Management System (HMS) that will further improve productivity and efficiency within the facility.