Thursday, October 16, 2008

Goroka hospital goes one step further in e- health

Captions: 1. Dr Clement Malau officially opens the Goroka hospital’s business resource centre; 2.  Robert Schilt IT Manager, Dr Joseph Apa CEO and Dr Clement Malau

Goroka General Hospital has gone one step further in its e-health programme with the opening of its new business resource centre on Tuesday this week by Health Secretary Dr Clement Malau

This was a momentous occasion for hospital staff, management and the board and a unique opportunity for the hospital to share about its IT achievements over the past 18 months and also how an Open Source Software (OSS) approach can provide long term tangible benefits and savings to the national health system and other hospitals within Papua New Guinea.

The opening of the centre has been 12 months in the planning and finally it happened.

The Health Secretary, CEO’s from each of the Highlands hospitals, senior staff from the Health Department, AUSAID advisors and Goroka Hospital board and management were all present for the occasion.

Hospital chief executive officer Dr Joseph Apa told of how it had saved thousands of kina in computer software costs and should be an example to other hospitals in the country.

He said the decision by the hospital to adopt OSS over Proprietary Software (Microsoft) as part of its strategic direction had already led to considerable savings for the hospital.

“Open Source Operating Systems such as Linux Ubuntu are essentially immune to viruses,” Dr Apa said.

“The hospital has not had one virus incident in the last 12 months.

“What’s really ironic is that none of our Open Source PC’s and laptops actually runs any form of virus protection software.

“By going down the Open Source path we have essentially bypassed the prohibitive costs associated with licensed software such as Microsoft Office and Virus Protection.

“This in itself has saved Goroka General Hospital approximately K60, 000 in setup costs of our new IT Training Centre.

“We have now started the process of investigating Open Source options for an electronic patient records System, something that all hospitals around PNG are desperately needing,  and I am amazed at the rich collection of quality Health Information System (HIS) related applications currently available through the Open Source Community.

“The ultimate objective in introducing electronic information systems at Goroka General Hospital is to provide both management and staff with accurate and timely information that supports and enhances the delivery of an efficient health service to the public of the Eastern Highlands.

“This goal will only be achieved through the provision of efficient, reliable and integrated Health Information Systems that are cost effective.”

 Information Technology manager Robert Schilt emphasised the IT achievements at the hospital, many a first for a public hospital in PNG:

•           Deployment of 60 PC’s and laptops including a Local Area Network (first hospital in PNG);

•           Establishment of a business resource centre (first hospital in PNG);

•           Setting of a training room and course(s) with 100-plus staff trained (first hospital in PNG)

•           Monthly meetings of an IM&T Steering Committee (first hospital in PNG)

•           Hospital website and online health forum  (first hospital in PNG)

•           Access to the Hinari subscription (first hospital in PNG)

•           Development of an organisational Intranet (first hospital in PNG)

•           Recent media coverage (first hospital in PNG).

The IT team at Goroka General Hospital is more than happy to share their experiences with other PNG Hospitals about to embark upon a similar exercise and can be contacted on



  1. This is fantastic - well done Goroka Hospital!!

  2. Anonymous9:52 AM

    The death rate at that hospital is out of bounds.PNG does not train a cadre of physicians,most if not all are poorly trained and lacking in even the basic essentials of medical knowledge.A better investment would have been to have hired a cadre of Australian doctors and medical educators to come to PNG set up a sensible medical curriculum and give medical didactics for several years,thus establishing a poroper foundation for medical education.All PNG so called doctors are self taught.The hospitial system should be up graded beginning with sanitation than proceeding to equipment,the same algorithm applies to nurses.All in all I can confidently state that PNG hospitals are kiulling fields ,Geroka included