Interoperability of Electronic Health Record Systems in Rwandan Healthcare System

Authors

  • Gabriel Mugabe Nzarama Stockholm University
  • Alice Mukabalisa
  • Alpha Arsène Marara
  • Louis Sibomana
  • Erik Perjons
  • Paul Johannesson

Keywords:

Electronic Health Record, Health Information Exchange, Health Information Systems interoperability, Refined eHealth European Interoperability Framework (ReEIF), Rwanda healthcare system

Abstract

Background: The extensive use of ICT in healthcare delivery has become important globally. As a result, patient data in many countries, including Rwanda, are dispersed across different Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. Often these systems exhibit a lack of interoperability among healthcare organizations, resulting in several silos of isolated patient data.

Methods: In this study, the research strategy employed was a survey, with data collection conducted through semi-structured interviews and an examination of documents. The gathered data were then analyzed thematically.

Results: The findings revealed that the existing policies at the national level do not explicitly promote health information exchange (HIE) in Rwanda. Moreover, there is a lack of a common data model supporting interoperability between healthcare facilities, and EHRs are not interoperable because there is no national HIE mediator. Therefore, the caregivers cannot access the transferred patients' complete medical history. Every healthcare facility has its specific EHR system for data storage and some of them also have frequent internet disturbances.

Conclusion: In this study, HIE challenges on different levels of interoperability in the Rwanda EHR systems have been identified. Several of these challenges can be addressed by the new guidelines and standards for HIE released by the African Union: these will greatly contribute to Rwanda and other African countries to address the challenges. Clear strategies for implementing interoperable EHR can supplement the existing HIE guidelines and standards.

Published

2024-05-04

How to Cite

Mugabe Nzarama, G., Mukabalisa, A., Marara, A. A., Sibomana, L., Perjons, E., & Johannesson, P. (2024). Interoperability of Electronic Health Record Systems in Rwandan Healthcare System. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries, 18(01). Retrieved from https://www.jhidc.org/index.php/jhidc/article/view/432

Issue

Section

Research Articles

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