Frugal Digitization of Analog Video Endoscopic Medical Records in a Kenyan Rural Medical Center 

Thomas Onyango Kirengo 

Imara Hospital Embu


Correspondences to: Dr. Thomas Onyango Kirengo; email: 

Received: 22 Jun 2022; Revised: 7 Nov 2022; Accepted: 8 Nov 2022; Available online: 11 Nov 2022



Digitization of healthcare data has led to widespread healthcare transformation. This has been enhanced by the availability of new technologies at lower costs. Video recording can improve the quality of care, provider skills, education, and patient follow-up. However, limitations such as the risk of litigation, patient privacy, and poor legal framework have curtailed adoption. Rural hospitals have older analog equipment due to limited financial resources. 


This study aims to present an alternative low-cost option. 

Materials and methods

We present an economical method of recording and digitizing endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures performed on analog video processing towers. We showcase a video of the step-by-step procedure that involves connecting a digital video home system (VHS) video recorder to an analog Olympus endoscopy machine (Model CV-100) and transferring media via a portable storage device to an electronic medical record database.


Using simple home video recording devices provides a low-cost solution to creating digital records from analog video endoscopic machines. The technique, however, creates additional steps to the endoscopy process and the need for capacity building of the endoscopist. Patient consent forms should cover video creation. Medical centers should have a robust information management system to securely store and retrieve digitized video records.

Key words: Endoscopy, Records, Digitization, Analog, Innovation 

Ann Afr Surg. 2023; 20(1): **-**


Conflicts of Interest: None

Funding: None

© 2022 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The digitization of healthcare data in the past few years has led to innovative transformations in the industry. It has increased access to healthcare data enhancing transparency to public and private stakeholders. In addition, the advent of smartphones, tablets, and other e-devices aid in easing communication and connections with medical equipment, thus improving access to healthcare services (1).
Surgeons and patients refer to the Internet and websites such as YouTubeTM to learn about surgical procedures. However, videos on these platforms are of low quality and have poor educational value (2). More effort should be placed on improving the surgical video availability and quality (3). Although there has been an increase in the prevalence of recording and archiving of digital medical records, the digital data produced during medical procedures such as endoscopy and laparoscopy are still minimal. The field of systematic digital recording and documentation (DRD) of endoscopic procedures is generally at the infant stages. It has been demonstrated that in some regions, such as Israel, despite having high access to DRD equipment, the actual recording rates remain low among doctors (4).
Factors limiting the widespread adoption of endoscopic video recording include (i) doctors’ concern about the potential risk of lawsuits, (ii) privacy concerns from both the patients and professionals, and
(iii) lack of a clearly defined legal framework for video recording in medical practice (4, 5).

The described benefits of video recordings include (i) improving quality, efficiency, and safety of care,
(ii) improving clinical skills of healthcare providers, (iii) medical education, and (iv) improved patient follow-ups (3, 4, 6–8).
Rural hospitals lack access to resources to support the purchase of new, often expensive digitized medical equipment or DRD devices. This, however, can be solved by using low-cost non-medical digital video recording equipment, readily available off the shelf.

Table 1. Step-by-step endoscopy video digitization process
Abbreviations: HMIS, Health management information system; RCA, Radio Corporation of America; VHS, video home system.

Materials and Methods

We present a low-cost, novel method of recording and digitizing endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures performed on analog video processing towers. Our method involves the connection of a video home system (VHS) video digitizer device, costing approximately US$150, to an existing endo/laparoscopic video processor using analog cables. Media recorded on the VHS digitizer is then transferred via a portable storage device to a computer and any electronic medical record database where it can be used as needed. The step-by-step process is described in detail in Table 1. A video of the same is available on this link or

We selected Diamond VC500ST One Touch Standalone Digital Converter (available at: as our VHS video digitizer.