Interview: Wilson Kutegeka on his ICT in health journey with ClinicMaster
I’ve known Clinic Master’s Wilson Kutegeka since 2010 when I heard him being referred to as MVP. Before that I always associated MVP with Basketball, and sports generally, but this guy didn’t look like a big time baller! I discovered he was Microsoft MVP – Most Valuable Professional!
Fast forward to 2015, he is nominated for the MTN Innovation Awards and eventually wins the “Best Health Application” award. After several attempts I finally caught up with him this week and asked him a few questions about his work with ICT in health:
First, congratulations upon winning at the MTN Innovation Awards! How has it changed things for ClinicMaster?
Winning MTN Best Health App award is perhaps the biggest endorsement we’ve ever received, it has not only motivated us to work harder but it’s also helping in convincing hesitant potential clients to think seriously about the solution that we are providing.
Consequently, upon winning the award, the team at ClinicMaster has enhanced the application to include e-Wallet payment that enables patients to view their medical bills and make payments off their mobile devices.
You have a programming background, what drove you into the Medical field?
I was working with a healthcare provider to develop applications that facilitated research in HIV/AIDs vaccine and this provided exposure to healthcare management processes.
While in service, I witnessed the death of a 14 year old on ARV treatment who could not come to the health centre for medical attention and this was because the centre’s manual system could not quickly tell us who had not honored their appointments for the institution to be able to reach out to them.
To effectively develop a comprehensive solution, I took leave from full time employment and dedicated efforts on developing ClinicMaster health information management and medical billing system.
How has the journey been for ClinicMaster? What would you say are the highlights of your journey so far? And the challenges?
The journey has been an eventful one marked by concentrating on developing the product to address the basic information management needs for health facilities. This phase spanned from the first client in 2010 to 80 hospitals and clinics in Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan in 2015.
The major challenge affecting uptake of the application is the prohibitive cost of infrastructure expected at the client’s premises without which deployment of the application is not possible.
What are your thoughts on the use of ICT in Health in Uganda? Do you think we’ve embraced it yet? What more do we need to do?
Apparently most healthcare management systems are still manual leaving the ICT penetration ratio extremely low. Compared to other sectors like banking with diminishing queues as a result of process automation, the opposite trend is manifesting for the health care service seekers at health facilities in the country.
How has the government received you? Are they giving you substantial support?
Partnership linkages for deployment of ClinicMaster in Government healthcare facilities have so far been initiated through independent projects providing health information management solutions to one district hospital and one National Referral Institute for Cancer. Provision of Government support towards scaling up deployment of ClinicMaster would be critical to solve challenges in the healthcare system.
We’ve not had a centralized ID system until recently. Do you see an opportunity there for Clinic Master?
A big opportunity lies on the horizon as ClinicMaster has already effected structural changes for alignment to the National ID system by embedding National ID Numbers.
After your win at MTN Innovation Awards, you remember the conversation on Twitter where some people said the number of health care providers who are using ClinicMaster is low and that Government establishments especially should be using it more. What’s your take? And why are some clinics/hospitals not taking it on yet?
Policy gaps have limited the scaling up of ClinicMaster in Government Health facilities as efficiency levels soar in the private health facilities.
In government hospitals, the reason for not taking it up is skewed to the bureaucracy involved in making decisions despite the need for system automation.
For private facilities, the reason for not taking it up is inclined to limited or no awareness, high costs of setting up the infrastructure and many private health facilities being family businesses, decision making is always not easy.
Tell us about some success stories from clinics where you have deployed.
On file, many of our clients have testified that ClinicMaster has added a new dimension to record keeping and patient information consolidation. Information can easily be archived and retrieved whenever it is needed at a click of a button.
Clients have testified that statistical medical reporting to all stakeholders has greatly been improved through use of ClinicMaster and these include reports to:- Ministry of Health, Hospital administrators among other entities that might require such reports.
We have received success stories from patients through our clients about the timely service delivery offered by hospitals running ClinicMaster and the state-of-the-art technology used that eliminates use of paper files.
What plans do you have for ClinicMaster, say for the next 10 years?
We will continue focusing on making ClinicMaster better by enabling it run on different platforms like mobile phones. Over the next ten years we will work towards making ClinicMaster the leading brand in health information systems management.
Any words of advice to a young innovator who wants to get into the medical space?
Young innovators should pick one area of specialty where they can do better and concentrate on it. If they try to do it all they will not succeed.
Final question: What do you believe is the most important factor behind your success?
Concentrating on a “user centered” development approach. [related-posts]
KUDOS Kutegz, I have known him since 13 years of age as a friend and my first physics teacher. Proud of him!