Over a year ago, we developed a medical record system for small clinics in Myanmar. We developed the system with a team in India and it took over 3 months to build. We were very enthusiastic about the product and its potential so that we aimed at collecting data from clinic, running analytics and report on various metrics that can help both small private clinics and the public sector at large.
Initially, we interviewed a few doctors running their own clinics. To be honest, we were quite optimistic and the sample was too small. In fact, most of the doctors interviewed were my classmates back in medical school.
After the product was ready, we roamed around Mandalay, Yangon, and a few cities in Myanmar meeting both small and large clinics.
We found out that most of the small clinics were not ready for such a system. Many of the medium and large sized clinics had already been using more complex systems but were mainly focused on inventory control, billing and accounting. None of the clinics we encountered seem to be collecting medical records for preventive social medicine and other research purposes.
We saw a few doctors who were keen to use our system but were not willing to spend the budget. They were using a dictionary software to record patient data. The method was to record patient as a new word and the patient’s bio and medical records as the definition.
After a few weeks, our enthusiasm for collecting medical records and providing valuable data to research institutions had died out. Today, we are focusing on selling the software online.
This was not of course an fruitless effort. We have established awareness, met potential clients and gained valuable experience. In the near future, we may be reaping the benefits. As of today, it seems too early. We will have to wait for improvements in medical practice around the country with modernization of medical education, equipment in clinics, insurance systems, public health policies and the economy in general.