Digital pens (like this Nokia Digital Pen SU-1B) may be nothing new to the world you live in, but here in Africa we’re not always on the forefront of digital technology. But sometimes we are.

I was extremely happy to read this post from the eLearning Africa newsportal explaining that doctors in Tanzania are being issued with digital pens to make sure medical records are safe and secure:

In many hospitals throughout the world, it is still standard practice for doctors and nurses to keep handwritten patient files; this is also the case in Africa. However, these files can easily get lost, and if patient data have to be transferred from one medical institution to another, the files can take a long time to arrive. Digital documents that can be shared and stored easily could go a long way to combating such problems. To help remedy this situation, at the beginning of January 2010, the IT managers of several hospitals in Tanzania began gearing themselves up to test a new ‘digital pen’; one that can convert doctor’s handwriting into a compact, easy-to-archive digital file.

I like the simplicity of the idea – all doctors will know how to use a pen, even if they cannot use a computer and the digital pen uses familiar technology to introduce you to more advanced technology. Clever!