Rwanda Makes A Step Further in Digitization of Health Services

PS Zachee Iyakaremye address the symposium

Rwanda has launched a new project to fully digitalize healthcare system by 2024.

The project was announced during the opening of a two day second edition of Health Research and Policy Symposium from 26 – 27 May 2022 with the theme “Digital solutions and Innovative Practices for better health”

The project aimed at having One patient-One Identy will cost $12million in the initial implemention stage, with an anticipated total cost of about Rwf35billion in the long term.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Health, Zachee Iyakaremye, said that the new project will drive the country’s health system from manual to digital and enable the sector to provide good health services.

“The action plan is to have all the patient information in one place and digitalized so that we do away with paperwork completely,” Iyakaremye said.

“This will also be possible with combining the personal national identification with the medical identification so that a patient can have one identification number which they can use to get treatment anyway in any health facility in the country.”

Currently, patients seeking healthcare at the health post and health centers still have to get a patient’s file (in paper form) despite the fact that over 400 of the 513 health center facilities having computers to enter patient’s databases.

Nurses handling medical records

While government has already started using technology to enter patient’s data and medical history at the district, provincial and referral hospital level, stock piles of medical documents can be found in storage facilities requiring a process of transferring the data into digital form.

Jean Baptiste Byiringiro, the Chief Digital Officer Ministry of Health said that there is still a gap in the digital shift especially reporting health data at grass root health services but the digital drive will change and address some of the existing challenges.

“This is the reason why we are restless because with the digitalized system we will be able to improve health services and timely delivery,” Byiringiro said.

“With a digital system all the information will be accessible at once and a patient doesn’t have to wait, waste time or repeat what they already said during consultation especially on non communicable diseases.”

Byiringiro also revealed that the interoperability baseline framework (the enabling base) is at 75% while the electronic medical records digitalization is at 20%. The infrastructure which is to come later will come with building a cloud data, installation of equipment and training of staff.




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