​We often hear or read stories about our medical colleagues battling at the frontline to deliver care to our patients, especially so during the pandemic. For our administrative colleagues who usually work in the back office, they too, are working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that our daily operations flow smoothly and seamlessly.

In this issue, we shine the spotlight on our colleagues from the Department of Health Information Management Services (HIMS), which oversee medical records. With the advancement of technology and digitalisation in recent years, NHCS had undergone many digital transformation in our delivery of care and operations. HIMS is one of the departments which had undergone a major transformation from storing and maintaining hardcopy medical records to electronic records. At the core of the digital transformation journey was 20-year long service award recipient, Norbaizurah Binte Rosli, Associate Executive. 

The Digitalisation Journey 

HIMS began the daunting task of going paperless back in April 2020. The team was responsible for scanning all active patient records from 2013 onwards, into the cluster scanned medical records (SMR) system. Norbaizurah shared that from July 2018, all new patients records were by default, digital. 

The process started with manual sorting the physical documents by the last two digits of the patients’ identification numbers. Staff were assigned to take charge of specific range of digits and to perform inventory listing. The documents were then packed and collected for secured scanning by appointed service provider. 

Norbaizurah Binte Rosli, Associate Executive, Department of Health Information Management Services (HIMS), is responsible for conducting quality review of the digital medical records.

Upon the scanning of the records, the next important step was to conduct quality checks on the scanned information – which is one of Norbaizurah’s key roles. Back then, she had to go to the provider’s office regularly to review the scanned images to ensure that pages were in correct sequence and tagged to correct patient identity, as well as to ensure that all relevant documents (including inpatient and outpatient records) were correctly tagged to the document types and to the correct patients. 

This was not the end of the quality check done by Norbaizurah. Back in her own office, she had to make sure that the scanned patient information matched the data from the Outpatient Administrative System (OAS) and Systems, Applications, and Products (SAP). “It was important that the scanned documents be error-free before publishing onto the SMR so that healthcare teams will be able to locate the scanned patient records easily to care for patients properly. The process was definitely not easy but I pressed on and learnt from the experience.” 

An ongoing process 

It was been two years since the digital transformation journey began. Angela Ho, Assistant Director of HIMS shared, “We had been developing our own team and scanning process, and we are now able to fully perform the task in-house at NHCS.” 

While the days of shuttling between the vendor’s office and NHCS has long gone, Norbaizurah still remembers her initial worries, “When we first got to know that HIMS had to undertake the challenge of digitalising our medical records, I was worried and stressed, thinking how I was going to adapt to the changes. Although there was a steep learning curve in the early days, the great support from my wonderful colleagues and family helped me to carry on.” 

“In HIMS, our job usually requires a keen eye for details and especially so for Norbaizurah as she is responsible for the vital task of making sure every document scanned is correctly captured. Her good understanding of the various patient documents and visit demographics such as outpatient attendance, admission and discharge dates, case types and so on, contributes to the accuracy of the work done as well,” explained Angela. 

Indeed, the administrators’ work is typically far from glamourous yet often, an important part of a well-oiled engine. Support from colleagues at the workplace as well as family are integral to the success of the work we do and the person we become. Norbaizurah shared, “My late mother said this to me when I was facing the initial challenges – Don’t give up, be humble and learn from mistakes. You are lucky to have a job – until now, I hold on to her words.”