The Relevance of Telehealth in Rwanda

T.A.M. Spil, P.J.B. Lagendijk (The Netherlands), R. Mugisha (Rwanda), and D. Dohmen (The Netherlands)


Telehealth, e-health, underdeveloped communities, relevance.


Telehealth applications have improved quality of healthcare in rural areas dramatically in the last decade. Telehealth brings new challenges and opportunities but there are differences in the diffusion of these new technologies. To bring about these differences this paper addresses the notion of relevance of information systems for end users, in this case, physicians or other healthcare professionals. Together with the main characteristics of Telehealth we argue that is not only the North-South digital divide that causes differences in the diffusion of Telehealth. The main question of this study is:” what is the relevance of Telehealth in Rwanda?” The main results of this study are that the here and now value rises when the distances between main hospitals and regional health centres grow. Although the distances in the Netherlands are comparable with Rwanda we think that if we reckon the distances in travel time, the micro relevance in Rwanda is higher. Macro relevance does not show many differences in the results, our focus on the end-user and therefore on micro relevance might cause this phenomenon. Further study on the distinction between macro and micro relevance is needed.

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