Welcome to eHealth Network for Africa

Create an account today to see more

Good Morning
  • Articles (2,337)
  • Do these 7 steps help you defend against cyber-security breaches?

    Cyber-security breaches are inevitable. Maximising cyber-security can minimise them, but can’t eliminate the risk entirely, so effective responses are essential. 7 Ways to Improve Your Security IncidentResponse, a white paper from R.sam, specialising in governance, risk and compliance, aims to help. A summary’s:

    Integrate with Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), products, services, technology and teams that provide real-time analyses of security alerts generated by network hardware and applications, and ensure the right data reaches the incident response team promptlyPrioritise Incidents using SIEMs and end users, and inform decision-makers by highlighting incidents in dashboards derived from calculated values such as priority or severityLeverage threat and  vulnerability data from a central repository of security operations, including threats, vulnerabilities, incidents, patch managements, asset management and other data sources and provide incident handlers with real-time viewsStandardize playbooks and configure automated dynamic rules to address unique handling requirements and criteria to help avoid mistakes in high-stress situationsAutomate responses for repeatable, measurable and auditable response tasksEnable collaboration so everyone working on an incident has a single view into activitiesShare real-time dashboards to leverage incident and event data.

    These can help to avoid four causes of inappropriate responses:

    Lack of process maturityPoor data quality and  availabilityUnsatisfactory toolsetsChanging policies and disparate teams.

    The seven steps comprise a platform that can overcome these limitations. They offer Africa’s eHealth programmes a way to step up their responses to cyber-security breaches.


    Are you interested in reading more about the implications for African health systems? Download Acfee's paper on Cyber-security: themes for Africa's eHealth.

  • Kenya takes the lead with new ethical and legal rules for mHealth

    All eHealth has legal and ethical implications. Kenya Standards and Guidelines for mHealth Systems sets out the Ministry of Health approach. A core component is responsibility to protect data stored on mobile devices from unauthorised access. It proposes two authorisation levels.

    The standards make it explicit that mHealth developers must comply with Kenya’s laws. It requires that data is:

    Obtained and processed fairly and accuratelyOnly collected for specified and legitimate purposesNot used inappropriatelyOnly stored for as long as it’s neededRecorded appropriately and proportionatelyAccurate.

    Standards for using mHealth data and devices include:

    OwnershipAccess and disclosureStorage required within Kenya’s jurisdiction without formal authorisationMaintain confidentiality when used for diagnoses and prescriptionsComply with data protection and other technology legislation and regulationComply with intellectual property rights.

    Kenya’s mHealth must also comply with WHO guidelines. These add to Kenya’s strict regulatory code. It offers a standard for all Africa’s eHealth.

  • Acfee internship applications open today

    At Acfee, the interns in the first cohort complete their year of service in December. They've set the bar high for those who follow in 2018, engaging actively in Acfee initiatives and becoming advocates for eHealth in transforming health systems.

    The Acfee Internship Programme offers enthusiastic graduates the opportunity to develop themselves professionally through practical experience in Acfee's work. These activities stretch across various areas such as its four main pillars: healthier Africans, building eHealth knowledge bases, strengthening and securing good eHealth and improving health outcomes. Internships are offered depending on the needs and capacity of the Acfee team to receive and supervise interns. 

    Today, Acfee begins accepting internship applications for 2018. Four places are available. Interns will be part of Acfee’s operational team, working closely with eHealth experts and supporting Acfee’s work in developing eHealth leadership and capacity for Africa. They will also contribute to posts for eHealth News Africa (eHNA), Acfee’s daily blog and even collaborate on publications.

    Do you have what it takes to be part of this dynamic team? Enquire and send your CV and a one-page motivation to interns@acfee.org.

  • Rwandan hospital uses telepathology to diagnose cancer

    The Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH) has a new tool that enables medical professionals to carry out pathology test using telecommunications technology to facilitate the transfer of image-rich pathological data for diagnosis, education, and research. The OMNYX VL4 system consists of an indoor scanner, cameras, a microscope, and computers says an article in ITNEWS Africa.

    The system scans the samples and then displays the results on a computer screen. The images can then be shared online with other medical professionals in the hospital and hospitals globally. RMH has partnered with US doctors who’ll work remotely reviewing the images and responding within 24 hours.

    “Testing and treating cancer is a big challenge globally, and here in Rwanda, we have a specific challenge of not having many specialised doctors in both testing and treatment of the disease. So, this new system comes as a way of helping us to test and diagnose cancer faster as we communicate among us so that we can be able to administer immediate treatment that will give patients more chances to recover,” said Lt Col Fabien Ntaganda, the head of laboratory services at RMH.

    The new technology can test for all types of cancers. Doctors will be able to provide the diagnosis and treatment plans within five days compared to the average two weeks it usually takes..

    Other East African countries, including Uganda and Tanzania, are looking to roll out the technology soon. They aren’t the only African countries that can benefit from the technology. 

  • All-Wi-Fi standard has a cyber-security vulnerability

    A serious weakness’s been found in Wi-Fi networks.  Mathy Vanhoef of imec-DistriNet at KU Leuven found it. The paper on Krackattacks says WPA2, a security protocol, can be exploited by cyber-criminals using key reinstallation attacks (KRACK) within victims’ range. Once in, they can read information assumed to be encrypted, and steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails and photos.

    Attack succeed against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks. Depending on the network configuration, data can be injected and manipulated. Ransomware and other malware could find its way to websites.

    Weaknesses are in the Wi-Fi standard itself, not in individual products or implementations. Any correct WPA2 implementation is likely to be affected. Prevention needs users to update affected products when security updates are. If a device supports Wi-Fi, it’s probably affected.

    Vanhoef’s initial research found that Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, OpenBSD, MediaTek and Linksys are affected by variants of attacks. A proof-of-concept executed a key reinstallation attack against an Android smartphone. Attackers could easily decrypt all data transmitted by victims because the key reinstallation attack’s exceptionally devastating against Linux and Android 6.0 or higher. These can be tricked into reinstalling an all-zero encryption key.

    While attacking other devices finds it harder to decrypt all packets, large numbers of packets can be decrypted. A demonstration in Vanhef’s paper shows the type of information that a cyber- attacker can access using key reinstallation attacks.

    Africa’s eHealth programmes need to seek and install patches and updates from their vendors. The findings show, yet again, a cyber-world full of holes, many of which may still be unidentified. Constant vigilance is essential. As participants at Acfee’s recent eHealthAFRO 2017 said, cyber-security is everyone’s business.  

  • Gates Foundation highlights Africa's challenges

    This year’s annual report from the Gates Foundation sets a clear, optimistic tone with a practical view ahead.

    “Fewer people than ever before contracted polio, and more women had access to contraceptives than at any other time in history. We supported the fight against Zika virus. And this was the year that almost $13 billion was raised to support the Global Fund's mission to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. While we are deeply proud of this progress - and all that we have achieved together so far - we remain mindful of the great challenges that lie ahead.”

    The Economist has extracted from the report a gloomy side for Africa. Its commentaries include:

    Campaigns to eradicate extreme poverty, HIV and malaria are going awryDemography’s one of the biggest reasons for gloomAn enormous fertility gap’s opened between benighted places and everywhere elseHigh birth rates lead to high dependency ratios where relatively small adult populations support lots of childrenThe fertility gap between Africa and the rest of the world’s set to close very slowly, taking 40 years to drop from five to under threeAfrica’s population of over 1.2 billion will be 2 billion by 2046 and 3 billion in 2071By 2030, there’ll be over 280 million 15 to 24 year olds, over 20% of the current populationFewer Africans living in deep poverty but the slow reductions leave about 415 million people, about a third, and are outstripped by population growthAbout 50% of the world’s poor are thought to be in AfricaFuture funding for HIV, malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) such as lymphatic filariasis that can lead to expanded body parts, river blindness and sleeping sickness, is uncertainVaccine-resistant malaria could evolve and spreadA risk of AIDS increasing despite objective such as AIDS free generationBetter HIV survival rates means more expensive and expanding treatment and costs, possibly leading to inadequacies and more casesHealth spending in 32% of sub-Saharan African countries, about 17, is less than 3% of their GDP, less than the 5% seen as a minimum for the basics.

    The Gates report says the biggest risk to progress is failing to control infectious disease. The impact in Africa of more HIV and malaria will be rapid. Is this the essential focus of the next wave of Africa’s eHealth investment? With Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a priority, it may not be enough if infectious diseases rampage across Africa.

    Should prevention and surveillance be the top priority for the next few years so eHealth can help to stabilise the substantial achievements already secured?

  • eHealthAFRO's African footprint expands

    Leaders were engaged, ideas were exchanged and participants joined the eHealth (r)evolution at the roundtable discussions. A key output is a list of priorities to take eHealth forward in the region. This will be shared in a conference report to be published later this month.

    Last week’s event made firm strides towards establishing eHealthAFRO as Africa’s premier platform for eHealth leadership stakeholder engagement. Two regions have confirmed their support for regular eHealthAFRO events:

    South Africa’s National Department of Health supports on-going annual eHealthAFRO Southern Africa eventsThe East African Community Secretariat will launch eHealthAFRO East Africa in Kigali, Rwanda in May 2018.

    eHealthAFRO 2017 introduced a refined approach that was welcomed by participants. It’s based on:

    Fewer, targeted keynote presentationsA diverse audience covering government, NGOs, private sector and academiaIntegrated daily academic journal clubsNumerous use-case presentations demonstrating practical achievementsMore opportunities for participant interaction.

    The eHealthAFRO website will carry event content from next week. In the meantime, you can explore the gallery of pictures. 

    eHealthAFRO 2018 is just around the corner. Will you be in Kigali or Johannesburg or both?


  • Nurses need an eHealth communication platform too

    As eHealth expands its healthcare role and impact, a significant emphasis’s on nurses’ needs for better information and communication’s essential. They comprise healthcare’s biggest professional cadre. A white paper from Spok, a global healthcare communication company, sets out a way to do it.

    CONNECT THE DOTS: NURSING 3 Ways to Enhance Workflows for Nurses With an Enterprise Healthcare Communications Platform says 54% of nurses are dissatisfied with their current communication methods outside EHRs. It can inhibit nursing evolution such as:

    Changing healthcareTaking on more responsibilities and dutiesExpanding regulationsCost pressuresIncreasing collaborationAdopting new technologiesIncreasing complexities of their roles.

    About 54% of nurses are dissatisfied with their current communication services outside EHRs, so initiatives are needed to support them. These must be structured, with practical strategies for:

    Care team communicationPatient Care co-ordinationWorkflow efficiency.

    Spok’s solution includes eHealth that supports automated communication such as:

    Messaging and location trackingWorkload assignment and managementCapturing patient data on mobiles and transmitting urgent requests to other nurses and healthcare professionals and their servicesFind and link with appropriate clinicians promptlyEfficient patient discharge and transfer processes.

    With eHealth’s allure of better clinical standards within finite budgets, not everything can be achieved simultaneously. eHealth for better communication between healthcare professionals offers valuable healthcare quality too, so Africa’s eHealth strategies and programmes should find a place for this. It can build from its existing mHealth priorities and investment.

  • Most medics share passwords. Do you?

    A cornerstone of cyber-security’s rigorous password management. It seems it’s not very rigorous. A US study, Prevalence of Sharing Access Credentials in Electronic Medical Records in Health Informatics Research (HIR), found that almost three-quarters, almost 74%, of medical professionals have used a colleagues’ password to access EMRs. It’s partly a failing on access authorisation.

    Within this group, 100% of medical residents say they’ve done it. About 83% of interns and 77% of students said they used someone else’s password because they were not given a user account. About 57% of nurses say they’ve done it. 

    The average number of times that each person shared passwords was 4.75.  While this is alarming, many of the reasons for the practices reveal password regimes that don’t match medical professionals’ roles in patient care.  

    There are two big causes of the practice. One is where passwords are not assigned to professionals who need it. The other is where access authorisation is insufficient for professionals to fulfil their roles. It also seems that access authorisation may not be extensive enough, with some professionals having no passwords.

    The study concluded that password use’s doomed because medical staff share their passwords. It sees strict regulations requiring each professional to have a unique user ID might lead to password sharing, leading to reduced data safety. 

    Another perspective may be that eHealth’s access control needs overhauling to match professional’s working practices more closely. Three recommendations from the study for healthcare organisations are:

     Make it easier and less time-consuming to have access credentialsDelegate administrative tasks and extend EMR access to para-medical, junior staff, interns and students in understaffed hospitals, especially during on-call hoursAllow maximum privileges for one-time use only, so junior staff can access records under urgent, lifesaving conditions without having to use someone else’s password.

    These need IT teams to be more responsive. It seems inevitable to ensure data security and integrity. As Africa move further towards EHRs, these practices could be incorporated from the outset.   

  • England’s mHealth has successes and challenges for African initiatives to learn from

    Strategies and plans for mHealth and mobile working stretch across most of Africa. A service from Digital Health can help the continent’s health systems to compare their performance with some of England’s NHS mHealth initiatives. Its Advisory Series, August 2017 deals with mobile and modern working. It has two perspectives, projects for clinical staff working in communities and mHealth that improves hospital care and to help non-clinical staff to be efficient.

    For mental health services, a goal’s to extend mobile access to EHRs for staff working mainly outside hospital. It includes logistics data such as patients’ locations and travel plans between them. mHealth benefits inpatient services too, where there are many routine tasks, such as therapeutic observations, and not similar to some community services that can involve complicated conversations that need recording. An mHealth solution from an in-house development enables health workers to use a range of phones or tablets that provide process-driven interfaces about patient care. mHealth can also replace traditional paper ward diaries with eLogistic  systems.

    Clinical audit and research can benefit from mHealth. An app can capture data about interactions with patients and match these against clinical guideline milestones. Instead of writing activities, doctors can tick boxes and data can be analysed and practices reviewed. Time saving and better quality healthcare are the results.

    South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group is another organisation which has found increased efficiency through greater use of mobile – simply by introducing the sort of electronic diary management abilities most take for granted in their private lives.

    Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) isn’t seen as viable for some NHS organisations. The extra complexities it brings can disrupt and a number of cultural changes to clinical and working practices are needed to realise mHealth’s benefits. These are the most challenging components of mHealth projects. They’re more significant than affordability challenges of devices, software, licences, connectivity and cyber-security. Mind-set changes and clinical leadership are essential for success. Clinical informatics champions, currently a small cadre, are helping to increase mHealth adoption.

    Africa’s mHealth programmes will have encountered many of these themes. There’s strong case for their leaders to share their experiences too.

  • Africa’s eHealth needs more emphasis on developing and integrating PHC

    Effective, accessible primary healthcare’s (PHC) essential to improving population health. The World Bank aims to help by improving and sharing knowledge. Its project Strengthening Primary Health Care for Results supports Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) services, and conforms two of the Bank’s Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) to: 

    Strengthen human capital and safety nets, so access to, and quality of, health servicesPromote accountability.

    It’s also a partner with the Gates Foundation and WHO in the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI), a project recognising PHC as a weak link in most health systems. The objective’s to support countries to strengthen monitoring, tracking and sharing key PHC performance indicators. PHCPI partners highlighted the far-reaching benefits of stronger primary health care .

    The Economist has two examples of these. Brazil and Costa Rica have better healthcare systems than other countries with similar incomes. One reason’s their extensive network of trained PHC workers. Costa Rica PHC doctors and nurses provide 75% of consultation. The country’s third for highest life expectancy in the Americas.

    The two countries GDP per head is between US$ Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)15,000 to 17,000. Six African countries match or exceed the range. It seems more challenging for the other 48. eHealth programmes that help to create, develop support and expand PHC services are priorities for progress.  

    A study in PLOS suggested integrating Informal Healthcare Providers (IHP) may be part of the solution too. What Is the Role of Informal Healthcare Providers in Developing Countries? A Systematic Review used 122 studies, 48% from sub-Saharan Africa to identify large-scale reliance on IHP services.  Globally, they range from 51% to 96% of healthcare providers. Utilisation ranges from 9% to 90%.

    Studies also found poor adherence by IHPs to countries’ clinical guidelines. People rely on them because they’re convenient, affordable and for social and cultural effects. They also offer flexible working hours, sometimes open all hours, more likely to have medicines in stock, closer and provide more rapid services.

    Recommendations from the studies include:

    IHP education, including capacity building and training programmesOversight, including regulation, enforcement and registrationBetter processes, including collaboration and engagementRecognising IHPs’ social and cultural valueReducing the need for IHPs by improving access to formal providers.

    If these are acceptable to Africa’s health systems, integrated eHealth programmes should extend to IHPs. These could include clinical support and eLearning. It also needs wide-ranging stakeholder engagement and to be part of a sophisticated healthcare transformation project, so effective political, clinical and executive leadership.

  • Drones can measure some vital signs

    Using drones in healthcare’s taking a step from supplies delivery to a clinical role. Two PhD students, Ali Al-Naji and Asanka Perera, at the University of South Australia (UniSA) have used drones to measure heart and breathing rates remotely and accurately. They used advanced image-processing systems and created an algorithm

    The initiative grew out of a desire to find a non-contact sensor to replace electrodes used in developing countries to detect vital signs in new-born babies. It can help to reduce infections. Other uses can be in:

    Nursing homesAreas prone to human infection, such as neonatal wardsWar zonesIsolated communitiesCar accidentsSea rescuesNatural disasters.

    A report in BioMedical Engineering Online says the drones detected vital signs in 15 healthy people aged between two and 40 over three years. It can do this simultaneously, and while people are moving.

    Sensory Systems Prof Javaan Chahl at UniSA, the project supervisor, told the The Lead, a South Australia news outlet, that the system detects movements in people’s faces and necks to detect heart and breathing rates. Drones in the trials measured the vital signs from three metres. They can also operate further away.

    With an emphasis on developing countries, the drone initiative offers Africa and new way to measure heart and breathing rates effectively and efficiently. It’s a paradigm shift from current methods.

  • Acfee recognises eHealth leadership with six awards at eHealthAFRO 2017

    Effective eHealth leadership’s vital for success. Acfee attaches considerable importance to its role and development. At eHealthAFRO yesterday, it handed out six eHealth leadership awards. They’re for outstanding eHealth leadership in:

    A clinical setting, Dr Rolene Wagner, CEO Frere Hospital, Eastern Cape, South Africa, for her imaginative use of information to improve hospital services           An eHealth strategy setting, Mr Onesmus Kamau, Head of eHealth Department, Kenya Ministry of Health for his role in Kenya’s mHealth standards strategyAn NGO, Ms Petro Russeau, HIV Technical Advisor, South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) for her imaginative use of information in South Africa's HIV, TB and STI response

    The private sector, Dr William Mapham, ophthalmologist, creator of Vula for transforming hospital referralsA national government setting, Mr Mbulelo Cabuko, Director of Health Information at South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDOH) for his contribution to eHealth A regional setting, Mr Daniel Morenzi, eHealth Lead, East African Community (EAC) for his contribution to a eHealth development.


    Dr Sean Broomhead, Acfee CEO, and Prof Peter Nyasulu and Dr Ousamne Ly, both Acfee directors, presented the awards after eHealthAFRO’s Tuesday programme. They’re well-deserved and confirm the recipients’ status as eHealth leadership role models.

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 14.0px Helvetica; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none}
  • AeHIN and Acfee to collaborate on supporting regional eHealth

    At today’s eHealthAFRO, Jai Ganesh Udayasankaran, Council Member of the Asian eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) presented his organisation’s history and successes. It plays a substantial catalytic role in supporting eHealth’s development in the Asian region.

    Mr Udayasankaran confirmed that AeHIN will collaborate with Africa’s emerging network, the Africa Centre for eHealth excellence (Acfee), on several aspects of eHealth that are priorities both for Africa and Asia. The main themes include:

    eHealth governanceeHealth regulationCyber-security.

    eHealth governance is well-developed in AeHIN. It promotes COBIT 5, a sophisticated standard. Most of Africa’s eHealth governance needs an initial entry point. Countries can use AeHIN’s experiences to see a trajectory of where their eHealth governance could lead.

    Acfee’s research on eHealth regulation in Africa reveals a significant deficit. The 2013 data are a few years out of date, though progress remains slow. They show an extensive reliance on telecommunications regulations, with little specific eHealth regulation, as shown below.

    These figures are well behind good practices. The deficit’s about 45% points, showing that progress is vital to avoid the African region falling further behind.

    Cyber-security has become increasingly critical. Acfee accumulates data on issues, priorities and guidance, much of which is posted on eHNA. Acfee’s basic cyber-security handbook for Africa sets out some features in what are rapidly changing and more effective cyber-threats.

    Collaboration with AeHIN will move further ahead this year. Progress will be reported at next year’s eHealthAFRO 2018 and in eHNA

  • Four vital insights from eHealthAFRO 2017 day one

    Day one of eHealth AFRO 2017 dealt with regional and country eHealth strategies affecting UHC in African countries. Four important insights were offered: two are from Southern Africa, one from East Africa and one from West Africa.

    Mbulelo Cabuko, Director of Health Information at South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDOH) proposed that Africa should develop its own measurements of eHealth progress that provides more depth than WHO and the Global eHealth Observatory (GOE) can provide with the limitations of its eHealth surveys. These are constrained by the need to collect comparable global data. Africa needs to be able to delve into more detail. It also needs to understand its countries’ eHealth trends and trajectories. Developing this type of survey’s demanding, but it’s needed.

    Daniel Morenzi, East African Communities’ eHealth lead, described its regional ID project. Each citizen will have a Unique Personal Identifier (UPI), including biometric data. It’ll be used to access healthcare too. Eventually, with its integrated economies, each person’s UPI will be accepted by all six EAC members for education, migration, financial and health services. Three EAC countries are piloting the initiative, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

    Brigadier General (Retired) Dr Gerald Gwinji, Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary of Health, outlined his country’s philosophy that it must not fall behind in the expanding ICT world. eHealth’s seen as cost effective and supporting all six of the WHO pillars of healthcare strengthening:

    Service deliveryHealth workforceHealth information systemsAccess to essential medicinesFinancingLeadership and governance.

    Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Director General, Ghana Health Service, outlined core themes of his country’s NHI model. Operating since 2003, the NHI is overseen by the National Health Insurance Authority. Part of healthcare finance is raised by a 0.5% addition to the VAT rate. As healthcare demand rises, it’s suggested that this increases to 1.5%. Reimbursing hospital services relies on the Ghana Diagnosis Related Groups (GDRG). This requires a set of eHealth investments related to costing models.

    These four themes are only some of the insights shared on the first day of eHealthAFRO 2017. More will follow on eHNA and the live twitter feed @eHA2017.

  • How can Africa innovate with Unique Patient Identifiers?

    Unique Patient Identifiers (UPI) are both essential and demanding to achieve. They’re harder to use when data’s transferred and shared between organisations. An article from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) proposes innovation with UPIs propriety to vendors and customers as part of the solution. For African health systems, it may improve the current position until national UPIs are in place.

    US provider organisations and payers are innovating with propriety UPIs. A common theme’s dealing with real time or batch queries held by third parties, such as credit agencies. These already have UPIs for their commercial activities. It suggests they offer value to health organisations because commercial entities frequently update and constantly maintain their data, providing current demographics for data warehouses, population health management and illness prevention.

    UPI innovation must be integrated with eHealth governance, which need developing in African health systems. Through eHealth governance, UPI innovation can engage with stakeholders such as:

    Governance teamsProfessional bodiesPatient access and registration staffHealth information management teamsICT teamsData users, such as care coordinators and health analytics teams.

    Their roles can extend to strategic information governance and how innovation and success will be applied. Mitigating risks is another role they can participate in.

    A set of generic questions can help to define UPI innovation:

    Who’s responsible for identifiers’ integrity, especially new identifier created by innovation?When existing data’s augmented with new external data, how is the new data integrated, and what is its lifecycle of managed?What are acceptable uses for the identifiers set by legal and regulatory requirements for UPIs, privacy and compliance?How can organisations incorporate UPI technology with human data stewardship to ensure a compliance and governance?How are discussions and findings from UPI innovation relayed to eHealth governance?How can discussions be for ICT, and people and process supporting eHealth governance?Should innovation deal with data creation for patient access or registration, data governance through procedures, processes and data fields standardisation, or both?How can a sample database be built to support proof of concept and technology?How can enough data be included in UPI innovation projects for rigorous, reliable testing, such as 100,000 records?How can UPI data goals be integrated into data governance programmes?

    AHIMA’s article says organisations and healthcare professionals are cautious in applying innovation to the long-standing UPI challenge. Mismatching records can have profound, adverse effects, so reluctance is reasonable. Despite these anxieties, innovation can still proceed, provided it’s based on a rigorous risk assessment, impact probability, costs and benefits.

    UPI innovation creates two activities for Africa’s health systems. One’s setting up their UPIs. The other is constant, managed innovation with UPIs.

  • Three days to go to eHealthAFRO 2017

    At 1pm Monday, 2 October, eHealthAFRO opens. The event integrates a range of contributions from across Africa to add to your knowledge of eHealth and its impact on healthcare transformation. Its interactive approach allows participants to influence regional eHealth. 

    The event will empower you to advance eHealth by showcasing proven strategies, best practice and real-world learning to realise measurable benefits for patients, communities, clinicians, and healthcare as a whole. The conference theme is “eHealth for UHC”.

    The opening by Ms Precious Malebona Matsoso, South Africa's Director General for Health, will give us her views on where eHealth’s heading, how it will transform health systems, and the challenges it faces to achieve this.

    The South African Health Informatics Association (SAHIA) will be there too. It is running the HISA academic journal club between tea and lunch each day.

    There’s a use case bazaar too, with over 30 presentations from a wide range of eHealth suppliers. It’s an excellent opportunity to see leading-edge eHealth in practice.

    The six roundtables are where participants will provide their views on eHealth priorities to help shape eHealth strategies.

    On Tuesday, I will present five Acfee awards for outstanding eHealth Leadership. More about that next week. We will be delighted to meet you there.

  • Nigeria’s ATM telehealth device to enhance services in rural communities

    Primary and rural healthcare delivery in Nigeria face a number of longstanding challenges. An estimated 66% of the rural community in the country do not have access to critical medicine, and are in dire need of effective medical infrastructure to support healthcare delivery. While 31% of the population travel more than 20 kilometres seeking standard healthcare in the rural regions.

    In order to address some of these challenges, Springville Management Consulting Limited has partnered with Tele-health Technology Company, to introduce its primary healthcare diagnostic technology solution, 'YOLO Health' says an article in allAfrica.

    The YOLO Health ATM kiosk is an innovative integrated preventive healthcare solution, designed in form of an ATM machine. It offers various health screening capabilities and medical benefits such as online data consulting with doctors, health checkup and health history.

    Managing Director, Chuks Melville Chibundu said "As we continue to seek solutions to challenges in various development sectors, we have recently partnered with one of India's leading healthcare technology solutions providers to proffer easy, quick and affordable diagnostic healthcare services to urban and rural dwellers in Nigeria."

    The YOLO health ATM allows patients to get a quick preventive health checkup or to video consult with reputed healthcare providers. It checks weight, height, BMI, Oxygen saturation and Hemoglobin.

  • How can Africa’s eHealth keep up with cloud options?

    Using cloud services offers considerable benefits. It can engender apprehension too, especially as cloud services keep developing. An article in eHNA asked if Hybrid Cloud Hosting (HCH) can be the type that Africa’s eHealth needs. An article in CloudNews describes and explains some essential themes.

    HCH combines private cloud security with public cloud flexibility. It has two components, a private cloud, often designed for a specific function, and a public cloud that uses data storage and processing power of a remote server. Users access data and applications over the Internet instead of from an in-house network. Public clouds are hosted by Cloud Service Providers (CSP). The top three are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). When workload’s too high in-house networks, traffic switches to a public cloud to increase capacity, a temporary cloud bursting event. Other ICT companies offer cloud services too, such as IBM and its Cloud Computing.

    Cloud bursting’s paid for as the supplementary services are needed. As Africa’s eHealth expands, pay by use may offer a more affordable option than either buying internal ICT power to meet maximum demand peaks or having insufficient capacity for peaks.

    Laws and regulations require effective data protection and geographic limits on data transfers. These frameworks overlay cloud hosting’s three main services:

    Software as a Service (SaaS), where users can install and run applications on suppliers’ computer systems to reduce the costs of buying and maintaining hardwareInfrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides customers with hardware, storage, networking, utility software and data centre space, only paying for the time they usePlatform as a Service (PaaS) combines IaaS with software development tools for users to write, test and deploy applications from the cloud.

    Benefits of HCH include:

    Compatibility with legacy environmentsNetwork optimisationCapacity expansion, switching capital expenditure into an operational costAccessibilityDisaster recoveryCyber-security, with an option to store sensitive data in-house with several security layers, and less sensitive data stored in a public cloud’s pay-per-use serviceGovernance.

    HCH’s disadvantages include:

    Dependency on one network, which may be risky, having only one way to access applications and dataComplex system infrastructure needed to transfer data between a public cloud and a private networksLatency of time for data to travel to a public cloud and returnCost for users that don’t have fluctuating data volumes and transactions, so a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) estimate of options over at least a three-year period as part of a rigorous business case will reveal the best optionService migration from one cloud host to another’s hard, but supply-side development may lead to multi-vendor platforms and enable cross-cloud-migration to mix and match cloud services based on cost, performance and functionality.

    Africa’s health systems have options of HCH. It’s important they find the right ones.

  • Mustek to display its wide range of PC and complimentary ICT products at eHealthAFRO

    While ICT products are not the total cost of eHealth, they’re a substantial component. Effective procurement’s essential to ensure the right products and services at the right price. At next week’s eHeathAFRO 2017, there’s an opportunity to review the full range available from Mustek.

    It’s one of the largest assembler and distributors of PCs and complementary ICT products in South Africa. Established in 1987, includes Rectron, an innovative ICT company offering software, networking, data centre solutions, surveillance, data storage, cloud computing and technical support.

    Mustek’s product range includes 3D printing and networking. Its supplies branded products from tier 1 manufacturers that include Acer, ASUS, Samsung, Lenovo, Brother, Microsoft Volume Licensing, Brand-Rex and Huawei. It also supplies its own range, including Mustek Security Technologies and Mustek Energy and its proprietary brand Mecer.

    With eHealth users’ increasing capacity and capability requirements, Mustek’s EyeSPY can help healthcare organisations improve their eHealth performances with more structured, accessible and centralised ICT training. It can also monitor application and web use, improve support through online help and chat requests and save time by automatically sending and collecting work files or quickly polling training groups to show prompt feedback and results.

    Africa’s healthcare budgets are tightly constrained, and EyeSPY could be an effective way to expand eHealth training’s reach. A 30-day free trial can be used to assess its eHealth training potential. When you’re at eHealthAFRO next week, you can find out more.