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Technology can help stop internal thefts in hospitals


LAGOS – Ms Busola Balogun, Product Manager, Interswitch Limited, a technology integration, payment and transaction processing company on Friday said that more hospitals should embrace technology to stop internal theft.
Balogun said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
She said that currently, many hospitals were haemorrhaging money because they could not accurately determine how much money was coming in and where the money was going.
Balogun told NAN that workers who regularly came in contact with their employer’s money unsupervised, often yielded to the temptation to pocket some.
“Any business that has a retail end, wherever there is an exchange in money, there is always an opportunity to pilfer money.
“What hospitals need is a sales management solution that manages the retail end of any business from a warehouse to a store or a hospital.
“Basically, it just helps you know what is being paid, for what, by whom and how much you have made by the end of the day instead of relying exclusively on paper receipts.
“Where in the past the customer would pay N100 and staff could only report N10 and pocket the rest, under the new system each request and exact payment has to be entered into a computer programme which can be tracked and monitored,” she said.
According to her, many hospitals are aware of their losses but lacked cost effective ways to have eyes on all their operations.
“This one hospital, on a monthly basis was making about two million naira but recorded over N20 million at the end of the second month because the first month was a training and trial session.
“And since then they have been making about N20 million without a recognisable increase in customers,” she said
She said this was due to the fact that the staff were mandated to pass all transactions through the computer programme otherwise the patient would not be attended to.
Balogun said the staff of several public and private hospitals where the sales management solutions were adopted responded differently to the retail solution.
“Some hospitals were very receptive while others completely against it.
“In one hospital in Lagos, we had to return three times to redeploy the system and trained them almost 10 different times before they finally accepted,” she said.
She said most of the resistance was due to the fact that under the new system they would be unable to make money underhandedly like in the past.
According to her, some of the staff also resisted because they felt intimidated by technology and computers.
She said Nigerians had to tackle the issue of continuously adjusting to ever-changing technology if the health sector wanted to catch up to the rest of the world.
“The health sector is greatly behind, compared to the western world.
“Thankfully, the Federal Government as well as the managements of several hospitals has taken an interest in ways to improve the quality of health services through the use of modern technology.
“When they, saw the benefits in retail, in the form of the revenue coming in, they started looking for solutions in other areas.
Balogun told NAN that currently many hospitals wanted to consolidate their records in order to improve service delivery and improve the gathering of health data. (NAN)

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