The All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS) Trauma Centre has made successful shift from preparing manual Medico-Legal Cases (MLCs) to electronic MLCs. It has become the first hospital to do so.
Since the hospital mostly gets accident cases, it registers about 30,000 MLCs in a year and doctors end up filling around 80 forms a day. When done manually, filling each form takes 15-20 minutes as the document runs into several pages.
“After we moved to computerised MLCs about eight months ago, the writing part has reduced considerably. It has provided a lot of relief to the doctors,” said Dr MC Misra, chief, Trauma Centre.
The MLCs are an important piece of evidence in the court and many a times, it is difficult to read what the doctor has written. “The judges have appreciated printed MLCs and even suggested that other hospitals also implement it,” added Dr Misra.
The doctors who prepare MLCs are usually juniors and are a shifting population in any hospital, with a maximum of six-month duty period. It becomes difficult to trace them if the court needs an explanation about a document.
“We have developed the software in-house. There is a set template that the doctors have to fill mostly in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It has also helped in bringing transparency to the system of preparing MLCs as outside influence has decreased remarkably,” said Dr Deepak Agrawal, associate professor, neurosurgery at the trauma centre.
According to sources, doctors who prepare these MLCs are under pressure from the families of the victims to twist the turn of events to avoid a court case. “No one wants an MLC registered and the families tell us to alter the facts. There have been times when even police officers have asked us to incorporate their versions. The new method ensures that once a draft is fed into the system, there is no possibility of tampering with the content,” said a junior doctor, requesting anonymity.
The success of the module has made the Union health ministry form a special committee to ensure the method is eventually replicated in other government hospitals as well.