n Mousaion - Management of medical records at Gwanda Provincial Hospital, Zimbabwe

Volume 28, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0027-2639



This article relates to the management of medical records held at Gwanda Provincial Hospital, in Zimbabwe. The broad objective of this study was to determine medical record keeping practices for patient records at the hospital and to make recommendations for their better management and care. Direct observation, interviews, and questionnaires were the major data collection instruments used in the study. The major findings of the study revealed that there are a number of laws in the country that govern the management of information held by government departments but there is no legislation specific to the management of medical records. The study showed that the hospital does not have a medical records management policy either. The absence of such a policy results in the indefinite retention of records, crowding office space. The study also revealed that procedures for managing medical records are largely manual and that there is no control of records from the point of creation to disposition. The hospital does not maintain an index of all patients attended at the facility resulting in a chaotic system of records and hospital numbering. Other findings of the study revealed that the hospital lacks a records retention and disposition schedule resulting in the permanent retention of records of ephemeral value. The Health Information Unit (HIU) is understaffed with only one trained member of staff in health information management. Based on these findings the study recommends that there is need for the formulation of a medical records management policy. Registration procedures need to be improved through proper filing and development of file classification systems. The article also recommends that a further study be undertaken on how the National Archives of Zimbabwe can play an active role in reforming medical records management systems in government hospitals in Zimbabwe.

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