Designing an online platform to ease healthcare delivery in Rwanda

Rwanda is continuing to go digital, and Jeanne Bovine Ishemaryayo plans to be there every step of the way. According to the government’s Vision 2020 plan, Rwanda will be a cashless economy by 2024. That is good news for social innovators and software engineers, and Jeanne happens to be both.

At 26-years-old #DOTYouth Jeanne has designed a software that will change the way patients in Rwanda access basic healthcare services. This software came after eSavingRw, which was also developed by Jeanne

A 2017 graduate of the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology, Jeanne is the founder of Calm Geek ltd , a social enterprise that develops software. But instead of focusing on the technology and data alone, Jeanne thinks first about the urgent needs of her fellow Rwandans and how she can build solutions that are locally relevant and solve everyday challenges.

E-vuze is the latest electronic platform Jeanne has developed through Calm Geek ltd. The platform serves as an all-in-one integrated service management system for individual healthcare providers to store lifetime patient records under a single patient ID as well as track finances, medical supplies and inventory.

The application, which is currently undergoing pilot testing at private clinics including the University of Rwanda (UR) Polyclinic, lets users book appointments with doctors at any hospital in the country and pay for services electronically.

E-vuze offers a unique feature that allows patients to access the service via USSD mobile short code (*996 #) from any basic phone. This is particularly useful in  remote communities, where healthcare facilities are not easily accessible. By using this USSD feature, patients can access services such as connecting with doctors, searching for the nearest testing centers, checking for the latest health updates and announcements, paying bills electronically and so much more.

“To avoid compromising confidentiality of patients, only hospitals and the Ministry of Health will be able to store patient’s data and show it to the patients when necessary,” Jeanne said.

According to Angelique Nyiraneza, a dentist at UR-Polyclinic who is testing out the system, says: “[it] is working and we register patient’s records from hard copies to soft files. I appreciate [this system] because it helps us collect all the past records of patients from previous hospitals. It was a challenge for us to start from scratch when looking for the past information of a patient whenever one had lost hard copies of previous records.” 

“We take a hard copy of the patient’s record and enter the information into the online system allowing it to be accessible by all hospitals and the Ministry of Health,” she adds.

DOT Rwanda’s  Impact on Jeanne social innovation journey

As a social entrepreneur, Jeanne says she has always struggled to clearly pitch her business ideas. “This was why I entered the DOT Impactathon,” Jeanne explains. “I know that sharing is good, and it attracts people to know what you are doing so they can invest or partner.”

Jeanne is also applying the pitching and branding skills she gained during DOT’s Impactathon to grow her impact among young women. She organizes a three-day training session for university students and recent graduates where they can enhance their ideas through technology and entrepreneurial skills.

“DOT Rwanda’s programs offer unique ways to identify one’s hidden talents and utilize them. Prior to joining DOT Rwanda, I couldn’t allocate much time to find out what makes me feel strong. After noticing the times when I feel my strongest, I started creating more opportunities to feel that way. I always make decisions on what project to invest in after analyzing if it matches with my passions and strengths,” mentions Jeanne.

“DOT’s Social entrepreneurship programs empowered me with skills to develop my Impact Business Model Canvas. I used the tool to order significant aspects of the e-vuze platform. Using the canvas has led to insights about the customers and beneficiaries I serve, what value propositions offered through what channels, and how my company makes money”, she adds..

“Most women think technology is for men only, but I joined a digital club and earned first prize for my skills. It inspired me to keep going. Now I can say that I am among the youth  who  have a leading tech company in Rwanda,” Jeanne concludes

So far seventeen pharmacies and two private clinics are using the E-vuze platform as part of the pilot phase,  with hopes that all hospitals and clinics in Rwanda will soon be able to transform health care delivery and  benefit from the ease of E-vuze.