ClinicMaster continues to transform Ugandan healthcare system

The State Minister for Finance in Uganda, Mr. Kajara Aston, handing over an award to Wilson Kutegeka.

Already recognized by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) as ‘Investment of the Year 2009,’ ClinicMaster Software is a promising company that continues in its efforts to transform the country’s healthcare system. We recently connected with the team to find out more about their most recent progress, vision and strategy for the future.

What problem does ClinicMaster solve?

“When one goes to a healthcare centre in Uganda, usually a paper file is opened, data about a patient is entered, and the file goes back into the cabinet. The process is repeated next time you go back for treatment. Despite the fact that this can go on for several years, it’s extremely difficult to make good use of data stored this way by medical staff. A simple query such as number of female children seen in the last several years could take several days to organize, moreover its accuracy is not guaranteed. Consider a situation whereby you visit multiple healthcare centers. Clearly this is a problem if the data is not stored electronically. In Uganda there is simply no easy way of interlinking these centers in a way we can safely share patient’s history.

ClinicMaster is an integrated new generation healthcare information management and medical billing software. It automates patients’ transactions in the clinic on a visit basis and tracks daily procedures. ClinicMaster is a system whereby your doctor will type notes directly into a computer or electronic device rather than relying on pen and paper of the past. Your medical records will be in one electronic file, organized so that the doctor will quickly know your medications, allergies, latest test results and the rest.”

Who do you target and how are you planning to make money?

“ClinicMaster is meant to be used by healthcare providers such as hospitals and clinics and also researchers who turn clinical data into treatment knowledge. Currently an annual support fee is charged on those who purchased the software and want continued support on how to best use the platform.”

ClinicMaster has been around since 2006, how has ClinicMaster adapted to the changing economic situation, societal and technology trends?

“True, the first line of code on ClinicMaster was written in 2006, and usage begun in 2007 by Joint Clinical Research Centre, an HIV/AIDS care and research institution located in Uganda, where I was contracted to develop clinical applications meant to facilitate clinical research. In 2009, UZ-Clinical Research centre in Zimbabwe started using it, and in 2010, other privately owned Hospitals and Clinics as well as healthcare provider NGOs in Uganda got on board.

The ClinicMaster development team reorganizes changing economic, situational and technology trends, thus we have aligned a permanent systems development team to continuously work on new iterations. For example we are working on a feature that will automatically alert Patients per SMS when their laboratory results are ready or when time to take their medication is up.”

How do you envision ClinicMaster in the next three years?

“Almost on a daily basis a new feature is added, amended or removed to make ClinicMaster better. To me, ClinicMaster is more of a concept than an application. In three years we want to see more people involved in the growth of this concept, we want to see a much better system that runs on various platforms and people with all kinds of mobile devices that are able to access data. Moving forward we expect major growth in usage in the region.”

What challenges have you faced with Clinicmaster?

“In the healthcare sector user requirements are extremely complex. There are no standard rules and this mean the system must be flexible enough to accommodate the ever changing user requirements. Secondly, convincing Clinicians to transition from the traditional manual patient filing system to have patient files stored electronically is equally challenging. The electronic system should be convincing enough to get all clinicians on board, which requires a lot of research and programming input to get it right. Remember it’s about what users want!”

When you look at the medical scene in Uganda, what is the biggest problem technology can help solve and how is ClinicMaster fitting into that?

“The biggest problem with healthcare providers in Uganda is the manual way our medical records are kept for majority of the providers. We simply can’t have timely accurate data about our medical history for data stored that way. This is what ClinicMaster strives to solve.”

Can you name some medical organizations using ClinicMaster and what they find useful about the software?

“Some of our clients are Victoria University Healthcare Centre, Gulu Independent Hospital, Kadic Hospital, Paragon Hospital, Makerere University Walter Reed (With rollouts at Kayunga and Naggarama Hospitals), UZ-Clinical Research centre in Zimbabwe and Makwa Medical Clinic in Nyeri, Kenya.

Most of these healthcare providers describe a great feature of ClinicMaster that the system alerts a doctor when laboratory results are ready, but also ClinicMaster’s ease of use in terms or managing clinical data.”

How can people contact you?

“People can contact me through my VC4Africa profile, via our website and Twitter.”

Great Wilson. Thank you for sharing your vision with the VC4Africa community. You mission is an important one and we are pleased to see you taking on such difficult challenges head on. We look forward to following your progress.