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Kenya: new e-Health regulation to enhance data management

Kenya: new e-Health regulation to enhance data management

e-Health practitioners in Kenya have welcomed proposed legislation, including the Health Act 2017 and the Kenya Standard and Guidelines for mHealth Systems, and believe these will safeguard the role of mobility in the sector and encourage interoperability between private and public healthcare.

The Health Act 2017 states that within three years of its operation, the ministry of health will implement management information banks which will include an interoperability framework for data interchange and security to effectively manage personal health information.

Tony Wood, the Managing Director at MyDawa, an online service for ordering prescription and wellness products, said that they welcome any legislation that will build the e-Health ecosystem.

"They are probably overdue. But with everything, as you look at the world, technology is moving faster than regulation, governments and policy," Wood told ITWeb Africa. "By the very nature of how governments work, it takes a while for the policies and regulation to catch up. But we are heading in the right direction."

"More can now be done on how these (regulations) are implemented going forward. I hope they are going to be implemented through open consultation where the public and private sector are working together," Wood added.

MyDawa already works with patient data and according to Wood, they have already put up systems that isolate and secure patient data from breach.

Wood says the Kenya Standard Guidelines will consider provide a more comprehensive look at how public and private institutions will share medical information and create Interoperability.

According to the guidelines, the use of mobile communications in delivering health services is gaining traction making e-Health a strategic area of focus for the health ministry.

"I think this is something that is very critical - looking to legislate and give guidelines on interoperability, because when most of these things are done in the private sector, then you've got the risk that you have some great health care system in one area or private hospital that doesn't talk to another," said Wood.

He explained that these disparities can hinder services such as referrals from one health entity to the other.

The proposed legislation Health Act 2017 is scheduled for debate in the national assembly.

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