The Challenge of Taking Baby Steps’ – Preliminary Insights into Telemedicine Adoption in Rwanda

This paper presents a case study of the adoption of telemedicine in Rwanda. Three major constructs which influence adoption and use of telemedicine technologies are theoretically reviewed and examined in these projects: technology readiness (infrastructure and sophistication of use), organization readiness (financial support and hybrid medical and technical skills and knowledge), and government readiness (policy and strategy). The research examined the national telemedicine project which has been implemented in three hospitals.

Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with stakeholders associated with the project and an in-depth review of related documentation and reports of the project. The study found that Rwanda has developed basic telemedicine capabilities in using video conferencing to enhance a participatory approach in teaching and facilitate continuous medical education and training. The findings suggest that the commitment of government to telemedicine, the strategic choice of using low-cost and less complex technologies, and strategic partnerships with educational and technology companies are factors which have influenced telemedicine implementation in Rwanda. The paper concludes that low-cost innovations which are adaptable to the resource constraints in developing countries may be the appropriate path towards developing sustainable telemedicine initiatives.

Keywords-telemedicine, Rwanda, teleconferencing, ehealth


Boateng, R., Mbarika, V., Johnson, O. and Saiba, E. (2010) ‘The Challenge of Taking Baby Steps’ – Preliminary Insights into Telemedicine Adoption in Rwanda, Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on ICT for Africa, March 25-27, Yaounde, Cameroon. Baton Rouge, LA: International Center for IT and Development.

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