Digital Health Model for South Africa’s National Health Insurance: Addressing Hospital Occupancy and Emergency Care


  • Wesley Moonsamy University of South Africa
  • Shawren Singh University of South Africa



Background and Purpose: South Africa will be unifying the current fragmented healthcare system by implementing the National Health Insurance. This poses inevitable challenges to the associated information systems. This research introduces the need for an information systems model to support the Federated Health Information Architecture proposed by the Department of Health.

Methods: The Health Normative Standards Framework documentation was studied in conjunction with the Life Esidimeni Health Ombud report to determine gaps in the proposed architecture.

Results: Five gaps were identified during this research (the view of shared Electronic Health Records (EHR) is oversimplified, key decision makers are not included in the list of stakeholders, emergency services is not adequately supported, medical aid schemes are not included, mature architectural standards need to be developed) and it was determined that a digital health systems model needs to be developed to support the current architecture to assist with resolving some of the identified gaps.

Conclusions: Data synchronisation issues are inevitable with a large project such as the NHI. To minimise mistakes, fewer assumptions regarding the interoperability of systems need to be made. The proposed architecture as it stands may not cater to the needs of the NHI. A new model that can support the NHI especially within emergency care and hospital occupancy monitoring needs to be created.


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Author Biographies

  • Wesley Moonsamy, University of South Africa

    Wesley Moonsamy is an Information Systems practitioner with over 15 years of experience implementing systems in various industries. Currently a lecturer in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at the University of South Africa, he is also pursuing his PhD in Information Systems with a focus on Digital Health. Wesley holds a BSc (UKZN), BSc Hons (UNISA) and an MSc (UNISA). He was the recipient of a research award from the Ekurhuleni Health Research conference in 2019 and his research has been published.

  • Shawren Singh, University of South Africa

    Shawren Singh, is the Chair of Department - Information Systems and an Associate Professor in the School of Computing at the University of South Africa, and has spent more than 15 years teaching and researching in the Information Systems space. His research has focused on e-Government, with particular interest in the design and development of these applications. He has developed models for understanding how e-Government applications are designed and developed. He also has an interest in usability of web-based applications. His research has been published internationally and he has presented papers at several conferences. He holds a BComm, an MSc and a PhD.




How to Cite

Digital Health Model for South Africa’s National Health Insurance: Addressing Hospital Occupancy and Emergency Care. (2024). Journal of Health Informatics in Africa, 10(2), 10-14.