The Completeness of Physiotherapy Patient Registers in Kigali, Rwanda

  • VRP M’kumbuzi
  • J Biraguma
  • J Chevan


Background: 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.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2226-728X