New electronic health enterprise architecture for Rwanda

Apelon, Inc., an international provider of terminology and data interoperability solutions, has been selected to assist the development and implementation of an electronic health enterprise architecture for Rwanda to improve antenatal (prenatal) care in the state.

Apelon is supporting the Rwanda Health Enterprise Architecture (RHEA) project. (Image: Flickr/IICD)

Apelon will be providing its products and consulting expertise in terminology and data standardization in support of the Rwanda Health Enterprise Architecture (RHEA) project. The RHEA project and Apelon’s involvement will work to improve the quality, timeliness, and use of data toward the achievement of better obstetric health outcomes in Rwanda.

Jembi Health Systems NPC, based in South Africa, is leading the RHEA project and chose Apelon to support this work. Jembi is an African not-for-profit organization working to advance global health by developing and implementing sustainable information systems, growing partnerships, and building local capacity in developing countries. Jembi currently works in South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. The RHEA project is implementing an integrated health information exchange (HIE) in Rwanda which will improve health services by making patient information and medical histories easily accessible to health care providers.

Apelon has extensive experience in HIE projects, routinely consulting with international companies and organizations to ensure the interoperability of electronic records to enable physicians and other clinical users to reliably use and exchange healthcare data.

“Apelon is internationally known for leading innovation in connecting patients, providers and organizations with accurate and standardized clinical information,” said Carl Fourie, Assistant Director of Programmes for Jembi. “Its work with Canada Infoway to ensure the country’s interoperability of electronic healthcare records speaks volumes about its ability to help implement and foster the adoption of electronic technology in Rwanda.”

Apelon will provide interoperability solutions to advance the RHEA goal of improving healthcare in Rwanda. Interoperable data will ensure that Rwanda can consistently review, analyze and report on critical national healthcare data. Specific terminology services to be provided include the standardization of:

— Diagnosis, in support of World Health Organization (WHO) initiatives

— Maternal and child health clinical concepts

— Laboratory exams

RHEA is an international effort focusing on the development of eHealth and Health Information systems in developing countries. The project is owned by the Rwandan Ministry of Health and jointly implemented by Jembi, the Ministry of Health, InSTEDD and the Regenstrief Institute.

In addition to supplying its open source Distributed Terminology Systems (DTS) software, Apelon representatives will provide training to Jembi and Rwanda healthcare professionals on DTS and Terminology Asset Management(TM), Apelon’s unique methodology for creating and maintaining semantic data interoperability in health exchange programs.

The RHEA project is expected to be operational by September.

“We are proud to be supporting the improvement of maternal health care in Rwanda,” said Stephen Coady, Apelon President and CEO. “The objectives of electronic medical records include the timely, accurate, and complete exchange of relevant information, sufficiently coded to be computable, sufficiently intuitive to be immediately useful, and sufficiently friendly that no administrative burden is imposed. We hope that our work here will benefit not only Rwanda, but also help realize these objectives worldwide.”

Staff Writer