The Completeness of Physiotherapy Patient Registers in Kigali, Rwanda
AbstractBackground: The patient register is a specialized medical record that facilitates professional requirements, including continuity of service, quality of care, administrative data management including patient billing and resource allocation, medico-legal requirements, policy decisions, research and education. A Rehabilitation Desk was established in the Ministry of Health in Rwanda, but this position has remained vacant for a number of years. There is therefore no central aggregation of the scope or volume of work done by physiotherapists in Rwanda. Purpose: This paper describes the status of physiotherapy patient registers, which were used in a larger study that aimed to determine the character and nature of patients presenting for physiotherapy at hospitals that are routinely used for the clinical teaching of physiotherapy students. Methods: A retrospective review of all physiotherapy registers from five purposively selected hospitals in and around Kigali was employed. All register entries from the year 2009 were reviewed and transcribed using a pre-coded, researcher-designed and piloted checklist. Data were entered and analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2007. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize register data. Results: A total of 145128 patients were registered in the five hospitals during 2009, and of these 3476 were registered in the physiotherapy department. All hospitals used traditional paper-based registers. Missing entries were observed on 1902 (55%) entries, most often for the ‘residential address’ (17%) and ‘gender’ (14.2%) variables.
Furthermore, there were peculiar challenges observed pertaining to register entries of the ‘patient diagnosis. Conclusion: The study found a high frequency of missing register entries. Our findings limit the usefulness of physiotherapy patient registers to fulfill the obligatory professional requirements and to inform planning for services.