Full Project – Design and implementation of an online based medical management and patient scheduling system
1.0 INTRODUCTION OR BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Traditionally, medical appointments have been made with manual schedulers over the telephone or in person. These methods are based on verbal communications with real people and allow for maximum flexibility in complicated situations (Zhang, Yu ,& Yan,2014). However, because these traditional methods require the intervention of schedulers, the ability to get a timely appointment is not only limited by the availability of appointment slots, but also by the manual schedulers and phone lines (Jones, Menon-Johansson, Waters, & Sullivan,2010). Patients’ satisfaction with appointment booking is influenced by their ability to book at the right time with the right health service providers (Wang & Gupta,2011). The Internet has recently emerged as another means to make appointments. Web-based appointment scheduling has been a popular research topic. Several studies conducted satisfaction surveys and found that Web-based appointment scheduling is an extremely important feature, and most patients would use the service again (Tang et al.,2003). There are two major types of Web-based medical appointment services, medical scheduling software as a service (SaaS) and proprietary Web-based scheduling systems. Medical scheduling SaaS has gained increasing prominence in recent years. These appointment systems are not built up by health care practices themselves, but are provided and maintained by health IT companies such as ZocDoc and InQuicker on a paid subscription basis (Siddiqui & Rashid,2013). The appointment services are cloud-based and can be integrated into health care providers’ own management systems. The other type of appointment service is proprietary appointment systems, which are integrated into patient portals on providers’ websites (Clingan,2011). A patient portal is a secured Web-based service that allows patients to access their health information and communicate with their health care providers at any time (Healthit,2016). In Nigeria, the growth of patient portals has largely been spurred by meaningful use (MU) requirements (Healthit,2016). because of the federal incentive program for adoption of electronic health records. To meet the requirements of MU and receive its incentives, the portal should be actively used by both the practitioner and patients (HIMSS,2016). there are two modes of Web-based appointment systems, asynchronous and real-time. In the asynchronous mode, appointments are requested through emails or electronic forms on providers’ website, and then manually processed by schedulers. In the real-time mode, patients can directly interact with providers’ scheduling management systems. Although the asynchronous Web-based appointment systems also use the Internet as a medium, they basically replicate the process of telephone-based appointment scheduling (Internet Health Strategy, 2006, p.1-6). Under the asynchronous mode, if an appointment is requested outside of a provider’s business hours, it will not be processed until schedulers return to work. Normally, Web-based appointment requests are put in the same queue as phone-call appointments, and are thus limited by the backlog of phone calls in the queue (Abbott et al.,2003). This work is focused on the use real-time method to develop the scheduling system.
Despite the increasing adoption of Web-based appointment systems, their potential benefits are yet to be systematically studied. The purpose of this review was to examine the current body of literature about Web-based medical appointment systems, specifically in regard to their potential benefits to patients and providers. We also want to identify the most effective services or components of them and explore the benefits and barriers of implementation. It is not the intention of this work to review the literature regarding fundamental theories of medical scheduling or system design, which have been studied and reviewed by (Cayirli & Veral,2003) and (Gupta & Denton,2008).
1.1 Statement Of The Problem
The current health care providers are using different ways and systems for managing patient scheduling. Some make use of manual systems of management, which is not comprehensive for effectiveness. study about current scheduling systems used in the health care proved that there is a lack of software that fulfils the patient’s need for medical doctor easy access and the doctor’s need to manage patients effectively. the manual appointment system was designed to minimize the doctor idle time.
Traditionally, the doctors’ time is more important than patient time. So an appointment system designed to minimize the doctor idle time only and considered that the patient can wait for more than one hour to be attended by a physician in a health care center, make patients feel they are being disregarded and treated unfairly.
Therefore, there is a necessity of developing an integrated scheduling health care system that can manage patient appointment with doctors’ information, and provide a very sturdy interacting communication between the system component and system users.
1.2 Objectives Of The Study
The aim of this study is to design and implement a web-based medical management and patient scheduling system(case study: Abia Specialist centre) .The objective of this research was to propose appropriate software to enhance doctors’ performance which will achieve the following:
- To Identify and analyze the current system used for managing patient information in health care information.
- To design and implement an integrated system for managing the patients’ appointment scheduling information, by utilizing web technologies available to build a cloud based solution that will counter for the lapses in the current system.
- To design and implement a system that will enhance the protection of patient health information history and provides the flexibility and accessibility of the information to be more reachable by authorized personnel.
- To develop a system that will control patient information in health care which provides the necessary information for future planning.
- To develop a web-based application solution for secured communication between patients and physicians, which in addition incorporates services such as appointment renewal and cancellation.
- To develop an optimized administrative dashboard where the administrator manages and updates the system entities and updates.
Furthermore, an important aspect of creating a unified database with electronic health records was discussed. Moreover, the study provides extensive information regarding the application of information systems in hospitals, hence creating the need to evaluate various ways in which healthcare system can be improved regarding patient appointment keeping.
1.3 Significance of The Study
A health care appointment scheduling management system provides an electronic document instead of using the traditional method (paper document), which makes it uneasy to document and retrieve patient information.
Because of the huge patients’ information in the health care, it is not practical to keep using the paper documents for tracking and managing the doctors’ schedules with patients.
automated systems systematically support extensive management of patients’ information in the health care and keep track of all appointment details.
Moreover, refer that the traditional method (paper documentation) is a limited aptitude for saving patient information, retrieving patient information etc., and cannot be accessed remotely.
On this note, the importance of a medical scheduling system that can provide the flexibility, and supports remote access to patient and doctor information, from the perspective of the doctor and patient respectively cannot be overlooked.
1.4 Scope And Limitation Of The Study
This research is for analyzing and discussing a web based scheduling system to manage medical health care information such as:
- Patient information: personal patient information, patient consultations history, patient appointments, confirming the appointment online, patient documents and details.
- Doctors’ schedule information, specialty, consultation fee.
- Doctor can observe patients’ information based on consultation history for each appointment.
Limitations Of The Study Are Outlined Below:
- This system manages the patient appointment and allows the patient to use the system online, book and confirm their own appointment by themselves. However, the patient cannot change the appointment time or date.
- Before the patient can use the system, the patient must register using the registration module to create their user account.
1.5 Background Of The Case Study
Abia Specialist centre is the first Dialysis Centre in the South East zone of the country, this is an ultra-modern with much-in-demand diagnostic machines, where affordable and quality health care is offered. Following the acquisition of the defunct Alaoma Hospital, the centre was built and opened to the public. It has a lot of facilities and equipment that has redirected medical tourism to its doors. It is also an approved centre for medical students’ internship.
1.6 Contributions to ICT
It is highly important to change the old hospital system and include the Information Technology in the work of the hospital. It can be concluded that the healthcare industry has experienced the spread of innovations aimed at increasing life expectancy, quality of life, diagnostic and treatment options, as well as the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the health system. therefore, including patient appointment scheduling using Information Technology will play an important role in the innovation of health systems.
1.7 Definition Of Terms
Web: A subset of the internet consisting of pages that can be accessed by a web browser.
Web App: Software hosted on a remote server on the web, which can be accessed by users using a web browser
Cloud Computing: The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than using a local server or a personal computer.
PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor is a server-side scripting language used in building dynamic content for the web.
HTML: Hypertext Markup Language used for designing web page layouts and views.
Frontend: This is part of an application that users interact with directly.
Backend: part of an application Serves indirectly in support of front-end services, usually by being closer to the required resource or having the capability to communicate with the database.
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