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Govt hospitals lag behind with computer software over 20 years old

Doctors say their workload would be much lighter if they didn't have to struggle with outdated equipment.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
Outpatients wait at the pharmacy counter of a health clinic in Ampang, Selangor.
Outpatients wait at the pharmacy counter of a health clinic in Ampang, Selangor.

Doctors at government hospitals are struggling with outdated computer systems on top of other chronic issues such as staff shortages and increasing workloads, MalaysiaNow has learnt. 

It is understood that some hospitals are still using Windows 2000 – a software introduced 23 years ago. 

A doctor at a hospital in the south of the peninsula said the Windows software specifications there were very low and had expired long ago.  

"By right, if a doctor sees a patient, we don't need to ask about their history anymore," he said. 

"We just need to check their health records on the computer. Sadly, everything is very slow and the system takes a long time to load. 

"So it's better if we just ask the patients about their condition there and then," he told MalaysiaNow on condition of anonymity. 

Adding that even internal data often lags, he said the doctors' workload would be much lighter if this problem could be resolved. 

Each hospital uses different software, and the data is not connected between one facility and another. 

MalaysiaNow previously reported calls for the authorities to work towards the creation of an online medical record system. 

The government recently said it would introduce an electronic record system in order to facilitate efforts to digitise the healthcare sector. 

A doctor in the north of the peninsula meanwhile said that he was using an old desktop computer with a fuzzy monitor display.

"The computers with newer software are used in departments that are busier, or at hospitals in the city," he said. 

"At hospitals in the district, some of us are still forced to use outdated equipment." 
He said it was often easier for him to use his own iPad for his work, adding however that not all systems were compatible with its software. 

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah acknowledged that improvements needed to be made. 

"The system needs to be upgraded and replaced," he told MalaysiaNow.