When we read the news we realise just how much improvement the African healthcare system needs, but healthcare is getting more high-tech, from electronic medical records and patient self-tracking to informatics, nurses and doctors are in the forefront of using these innovative solutions to patient care here in Africa. Professor Sharon Brownie, who is a Dean at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa at the Aga Khan University, says the curriculum of the school has been updated to include content that includes using information Technology and Healthcare informatics.

Prof. Brownie, who will be sharing her insights at the Africa Health conference, explains what nurses receive in their training nowadays, “How to work with electric patient record and management systems including electronic paint booking systems; notification of lab results; health information messaging platforms, and even use of everyday platforms, like WhatsApp, for patient education and patient communication.

For most governments, the integration of technology in this sector has become priority. Big data is something the healthcare sector can also make use of, and that’s been the buzzword in discussions on how big data will allow healthcare workers to identify important heath trends and make decisions based on these findings. Professor Jane Leanne Griffiths, the chief nursing information officer at the Dubai Health Authority says the use of analytics can help to identify potentially infectious diseases by examining outbreaks in other parts of the world, that will help aid in early detection in patients. “One of the key spin-offs of implementing an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) is the big data and analytics that can be used to make ongoing strategic health decisions. The potential for this data to be used as a platform to leverage to other technologies such as home care, artificial intelligence and blockchain are almost unlimited,” she said. “Big data also plays a key role in nursing education. She says informatics skills are being taught in light of the importance of  big data and analytics which in the nursing context is mainly focused on epimiomology, statistics and population health research,” she continued. She understands and stresses out the point that educators need to stay technologically relevant in how they train and do teaching.