Kagiso Ndlovu, Tiroyamodimo Mogotlhwane, Maurice Mars, and Richard E Scott
Interoperability, Botswana, eHealth, Mobile Telemedicine, Electronic health record
Healthcare system interoperability remains a major challenge for most upcoming economies. In Botswana, just like most developing countries, the health information landscape is marred by discrete islands of information posing significant barriers to the effective sharing of information between healthcare participants. This becomes even more challenging when trying to understand and accurately report on what is really happening, to support population health surveillance, and to guide policy, service planning, innovation, and clinical and operational decision-making. There is a clear need to move away from the reliance on manual data collection to an environment where healthcare stakeholders can reliably and securely access and share health information in real time across geographic and health sector boundaries. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for health (i.e. eHealth) have the ability to dramatically increase access to, and availability of life-enriching information and services. The Government of Botswana fully understands and appreciates the developmental importance of ICTs. Accordingly the Botswana Ministry of Health is leveraging ICTs to attain a single health record for every Motswana which will enable the planning, management, and delivery of timely health services. Botswana has been experiencing an influx of well-intentioned health information systems implementations at various health facilities which duplicated functionalities and were not interoperable, leading to fragmentation and potential misinformation. That has led to health systems interoperability being a major component of Botswana’s eHealth strategy. This paper therefore seeks to outline global and local endeavors towards the attainment of interoperable eHealth solutions and suggest a possible eHealth interoperability framework direction for developing economies such as in Botswana.