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NMRA launches digitalisation project to improve efficiency and cut down processing time

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 18 January 2019 00:00



ceremonially launching the 1st phase of NMRA Document and Workflow Management System


  • An innovative e-government solution, initiated in collaboration with ICTA and Epic Technology Group

By Fathima Riznaz Hafi

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has launched the first phase of its digitalisation project which was generated in partnership with Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka and technologically powered by Epic Technology Group.

Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicines Dr. Rajitha Senaratne
Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Minister (Non-Cabinet) Ajith P. Perera
National Medicines Regulatory Authority CEO Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe
National Medicines Regulatory Authority Chairman Prof. Asita de Silva

The event took place on Friday (11), in the presence of Chief Guest Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicines Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, along with Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Ajith P. Perera, NMRA Chairman Prof. Asita de Silva and NMRA CEO/DG Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe, at the NMRA premises.

Speaking at the launch, NMRA Chairman Prof. Asita de Silva shared, “The NMRA is responsible in many ways, for the health of the nation. Our primary objective is to increase patient access to quality-assured medicines, and in doing that we need to achieve a few basic targets – we need to reduce out-of-pocket expenses of medicines and the percentage spent on medicines, from the health budget. Developed countries spend about 18% of the health budget on medicines whereas developing countries such as ours spend about 35-40% – far too much.” 

He explained that these are the mandates the national regulator has been given and in doing this, it wants to increase its efficiencies and also increase and improve its transparency, as a national regulator of medicine so that all its stakeholders are treated fairly and its decisions are based on evidence. The digital transformation that has now commenced at NMRA would be highly instrumental in achieving this objective. 

“The first phase of the digital transformation of the national regulator of medicines will be the first step towards increasing efficiency and improving our transparency,” he asserted. 

Prof. de Silva further added, “The biggest challenge for me in this organisation is ‘lack of data’; our databases are poorly maintained, most of the information is managed through documents manually, we don’t have the capability of filtering information; and these drawbacks impact our day-to-day activities and our ability to do proper market surveillance.”

After deeming the current system as outdated and counter-productive, the new system – a state-of-the-art transformational e-government solution, is expected to enable NMRA’s divisions to improve productivity, while also cutting down on cost of operations.

Epic Technology Group’s DoxPro Enterprise Content Management Platform has been selected to develop a Document and Workflow Management System that would digitally transform the organisation’s current processes. Additionally, this new system aims to reduce an immense amount of labour hours spent annually on regulatory process, thereby enabling NMRA to achieve the quality and efficiency that it is aiming for.

“From here, the first phase of NMRA’s automation which will systematise four modules, including personal user licence,

profile creation, pharmacy regulation and opioid management, we will move forward to all other modules that are in operation in the NMRA office, so that the entire work process and document flow process becomes automated. We would like to see this a paperless institution,” Prof. de Silva said.

Pix by Lasantha Kumara


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