Document Type

Article

Department

Pathology (East Africa)

Abstract

Pathology, clinical care teams, and public health experts often operate in silos. We hypothesized that large data sets from laboratories when integrated with other healthcare data can provide evidence that can be used to optimize planning for healthcare needs, often driven by health-seeking or delivery behavior. From the hospital information system, we extracted raw data from tests performed from 2019 to 2021, prescription drug usage, and admission patterns from pharmacy and nursing departments during the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya (March 2020 to December 2021). Proportions and rates were calculated. Regression models were created, and a t-test for differences between means was applied for monthly or yearly clustered data compared to pre-COVID-19 data. Tests for malaria parasite, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, rifampicin resistance, blood group, blood count, and histology showed a statistically significant decrease in 2020, followed by a partial recovery in 2021. This pattern was attributed to restrictions implemented to control the spread of COVID-19. On the contrary, D-dimer, fibrinogen, CRP, and HbA1c showed a statistically significant increase (p-value <0.001). This pattern was attributed to increased utilization related to the clinical management of COVID-19. Prescription drug utilization revealed a non-linear relationship to the COVID-19 positivity rate. The results from this study reveal the expected scenario in the event of similar outbreaks. They also reveal the need for increased efforts at diabetes and cancer screening, follow-up of HIV, and tuberculosis patients. To realize a broader healthcare impact, pathology departments in Africa should invest in integrated data analytics, for non-communicable diseases as well.

Publication

Frontiers in Medicine

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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