The overall goal of the workshop was to launch the interoperability Academy and EMR implementation, establish a community of practice on interoperability and introduce participants to interoperability in Ethiopia. The invited participants were HIS leaders and/or developers from the MoH, CBMP Universities, Regional Health Offices, and Partners. The workshop was held at the University of Gondar, college of medicine and health science, department of Health Informatics, e-health lab Ethiopia, DHIS-2 Academy, Ethiopia, from September 29 and 30, 2022
The workshop opened on September 29th with a welcome statement by the college of medicine and health science chief executive director, Dr. Ashenafi Tazebewu. Followed by the statement of the university president Dr. Asrat Atsedewoyine. As he said that “The opening of the academy will improve the quality of care, setting a framework for reducing the suffering and mistreatment of patients by digitizing the health care systems of the country.” And then, the coordinator of eHealth lab Ethiopia and Vice president of the university, Dr. Binyam Chakilu added an opening speech and presented a welcome statement to guests, and briefed the role of eHealth teams at the University of Gondar. He also provided a quick overview of the objectives of the Ethiopian Digital Health Interoperability Network. Afterward, Mr. Gemechis, MOH deputy minister, thanked the interoperability academy team for organizing the workshops. He gave a basic introduction to the interoperability plans of the Ethiopian MOH as well as the launch and training programs for the interoperability academy. Finally, he wished all participants a good and successful training workshop.
Dr. Tesfahun Melese, the coordinator of the interoperability academy, introduced the participants of the workshop to the topic of the Ethiopian Digital Health Interoperability Network. His presentation includes the objectives, plans, and community of practice procedures of the Ethiopian Digital Health Interoperability Network. Working materials were exchanged by the attendees after the EDHIN presentation. They assessed the purpose, policies, and procedures of the working papers and gave their feedback, which the EDHIN team used to improve the documents.
The University of Gondar’s Ethiopia Digital Health Interoperability Network team gave the audience a demonstration of the interoperability Academy website (https://edhin.org/ ). Online community registration was available for each participant using these links (https://forms.gle/iY82hqjUWB9i8zfq8 ). As part of the official announcement of the establishment of the EDHIN community, the community was allowed to register to become an EDHIN member. Following the demonstration, there were debates over
the EDHIN website’s logo, name, and several modules. They provided feedback on the naming, logo, and each module, which the EDHIN team used to make improvements.
The DHA and UoG jointly presented their plans for deploying the EMR in the specialized comprehensive hospital. Dr. Tesfahun Melese updated the EMR deployment at the UoG specialized comprehensive hospital. As he pointed out, hospitals’ medical record units, triage services, and outpatient divisions were currently successfully deploying the Bahmni EMRs. He also noted that machine integration is also being done in the radiology and laboratory departments and that in the following months, the EMR deployment would continue in these service units. The DHA team also discussed its strategy for bringing EMR to the UoG hospital, which was given by Mr. Pazion Cherenet. He mentioned how satisfied the DHA was with the UoG hospital’s current EMR installation. He added that the DHA would continue to support both the launch of the interoperability academy and the adoption of EMRs. They will have complete faith in the EMR and interoperability, as he noted, as UoG serves as the center of expertise for implementing e-health.
Presentations and discussions continued to be held on September 30th to help participants gain a better understanding of interoperability. The Ethiopian Digital Health Interoperability Network team members at the University of Gondar, as well as partners, led this training. To this end, theoretical concepts, practical examples, and experiences from other countries were presented. The training includes an introduction to interoperability that focuses on the importance of interoperability, issues to consider when implementing interoperability, an architectural view of interoperability, and interoperability governance. The Jembi team from South Africa shared detailed experiences that highlighted the importance of the topic, success stories, and potential challenges. Following the theoretical discussions and presentations, the MoH and DHA teams presented their practical experience with interoperability. Overall, this training offers participants both theoretical as well as practical insights and experiences.
Dr. Tesfahun M. thanked all the participants and the research teams. He officially closed the workshop on September 30 at 2:00 p.m.