St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Uganda needed modern business management software to ensure greater transparency and control over its largely manual processes. The hospital chose Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software. For the first time, the hospital has integrated its procurement, inventory, and accounting processes in a single business management system.
As a non-profit charitable institute in Northern Uganda, the 548-bed St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor offers critical healthcare services to more than 300,000 patients a year. Situated in Gulu district, St. Mary’s is also a teaching hospital with a nursing school, and carries out advanced research and development projects.
Financial transparency is a priority for hospital administrators to help ensure the confidence of foreign donors. Until the third quarter of 2009, St. Mary’s relied on an ageing accounting system for its general ledger, but used manual systems for billing, inventory tracking, and procurement. Samuele Tognetti, Hospital Administrator, St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, says: “Payroll was not integrated with the general ledger. The nursing school teaching records, which were computerised, had to be manually entered into the accounts system to process payments for the different courses students were studying. Although the hospital had seven collection points for patient fees and charges, the daily cash reconciliations also had to be made manually.”
|Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 is giving the hospital fully automated financial controls for the first time. We have better budgeting and management information.|
St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, Uganda
Critically, St. Mary’s—which is funded by charitable foundations in Italy and Canada—had no system to track procurement of supplies for the hospital pharmacy and laboratories. Tognetti says: “Our aim was to reduce operating costs and any leakage of materials or human errors in accounting. Above all, we needed to gain full control of our inventory and stores so that any movement of items in and out of our stores was immediately visible. Once we had the systems in the stores computerised, we would be in a position to introduce new business processes and significantly improve governance."
St. Mary’s considered several options for its 40 users, including business management software from Italy, before choosing Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 in a tender adjudicated by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is the hospital’s auditor. The deployment also included Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software, the Windows Server 2008 operating system, and Windows XP for the clients.
The tender award resulted in the appointment of Microsoft Gold Certified Partner AkiliAfrica to replace a previous Microsoft partner. AkiliAfrica has more than 300 sites in East Africa running successful Microsoft Dynamics solutions and a track record of customising modules to suit local conditions.
Stella Mandi, General Manager at AkiliAfrica, says: “The most important deliverable in the solution for St. Mary’s is the integration of all the business management systems of the hospital with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009. Previously, inventory, sales, and procurement were all separate manual systems. As a result, hospital administrators had no idea of the current state of their stocks of medicines. Some of the information was held in Microsoft Office Access, which was not connected to the previous general ledger software.”
AkiliAfrica began deployment in the second quarter of 2009, finishing the project—including training and personal development for the users—in just three months. Senior administrators have been provided with automated management reports for the first time due to the business intelligence tools native to the software. Mandi says: “Adoption of the new systems and business processes throughout the hospital has been a success because of the familiar look and feel of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 to anyone experienced with Windows.”
Since July 2009, the hospital’s administrative departments have operated with a single business management system, which is easy to use and has a single system for data storage and processing. Tognetti says: “Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 is giving the hospital fully automated financial controls for the first time. We have better budgeting and management information, full visibility over inventory, and there’s no longer any risk of human error in accounting.”
- Greater efficiencies with automated systems. Efficiency has improved significantly now that there aren’t any manual administration systems. This has freed managers for higher value tasks.
- Administrators use business intelligence for better decision making. The business intelligence tools in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 and SQL Server 2008 give administrators access to real-time data that will result in better planning and decision making.
- Automated accounting for cash provides full transparency over payments. Cash paid into the hospital’s seven fees and charges collection points is automatically accounted for, making daily reconciliation more accurate. Tognetti says: “Greater transparency over our finances is a vital factor in retaining the support of international donors.”
- Microsoft partner provides high-quality local support. The availability of specialists from AkiliAfrica with expertise in Microsoft Dynamics solutions in a remote region of Uganda was a key factor in the decision to deploy the solution.
- Teaching hospital records integrate with financial systems. The management of the teaching hospital and nursing school student records integrates with the accounting system in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009, creating greater efficiencies and better customer service.
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