Rwanda Takes Another Step Towards Completely Digitizing Its Health Care Services
A new initiative, which aims to completely digitalize Rwanda’s healthcare system by the year 2024, has been started.
The initiative was revealed at the beginning of the second annual Health Research and Policy Symposium, which took place on May 26 and 27 of 2022. The symposium’s topic was “Digital solutions and Innovative Practices for improved health,” and it was organized by the National Center for Health Research.
The first implementation stage of the project which aims to have One patient-One Identity will cost $12 million, and it is projected that the overall cost will be around Rwf35 billion over the course of its lifetime.
Zacher Iyakaremye, the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Health, said that the new initiative would shift the country’s health system from manual to digital and allow the sector to give excellent health services. This was stated by Zachee Iyakaremye.
“The plan of action is to have all of the patient information digitalized and centralized in one location so that we can fully eliminate the need for paperwork,” Iyakaremye said.
“This will also be possible with the combination of the personal national identification with the medical identification so that a patient can have one identification number that they can use to get treatment in any health facility in the country,” the author writes. “This will also be possible with the combination of the personal national identification with the medical identification.”
Even though over 400 of the 513 health center facilities have computers that can enter patient’s databases, patients who are seeking medical care at a health post or health center are still required to obtain a patient’s file (in paper form). This is the case despite the fact that a patient’s file can be accessed electronically.
While the government has already begun using technology to enter patient data and medical history at the district, provincial, and referral hospital levels, stockpiles of medical documents can be found in storage facilities, requiring a process of transferring the data into digital form. While the government has already begun using technology to enter patient data and medical history at the district, provincial, and referral hospital levels, stockpiles of medical documents can be found.
The Chief Digital Officer for the Ministry of Health, Jean Baptiste Byiringiro, said that there is still a gap in the digital transition, particularly in reporting health data at grass root health services; nevertheless, the digital push will transform and solve some of the present difficulties.
According to Byiringiro, this is the reason why we are anxious: “With the digitalized system, we will be able to enhance health services and fast delivery.”
In the case of non-communicable illnesses in particular, “with a digital system, all the information will be available at once, and a patient won’t have to wait, waste time, or repeat what they’ve previously stated during consultation.”
Byiringiro also disclosed that the interoperability baseline framework, also known as the enabling basis, is now at 75 percent, while the digitization of electronic medical records is currently at 20 percent. The infrastructure that will be built in the next stages includes the creation of a cloud data storage, the installation of equipment, and the training of personnel.