The digital revolution continues to change the face of health systems the world over. At the 71st World Health Assembly (WHA), the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised the full potential of the digital health revolution to enhance health service capacities and accelerate progress towards achieving health and wellbeing related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 3. They also recognised that the responsible and appropriate use of digital health solutions remains a great challenge. The potential for positive impacts through the application of digital health tools are clear, and it is often cited that they will be a key vehicle on the road to achieving Universal Health Coverage. However, poorly designed, unsustainable, unsafe and irresponsible digital health products can be a waste of time, energy and physical and financial resources, and more importantly can risk the wellbeing for those whose lives they were supposed to improve. Along this continuum of negative outcomes due to badly designed digital health tools, the perpetuation of stereotypes, the widening of the digital divide and the abuse of personal data are also key concerns.
The Digital Health Initiative aims to:
- Encourage and facilitate the sustainable, safe and responsible development and adoption of digital health products amongst international organisations, NGOs, the private sector and government organisations;
- Build capacity among health care workers, local governments, publics, and other end users;
- Ensure uptake and use of strong digital health tools and guidelines.
Responsible Global Health – Webinar Series
Topics to be included:
Digital Health and Universal Health Coverage
Inequity in digital health
Personal data privacy during public health emergencies
Responsible AI for health
Scaling up digital health
Sustainable tech for digital health
Building Digital Health Literacy
An essential part of building capacity in the uptake of digital health products and building trust in digital health more generally, is to improve digital literacy. If people are able to better understand how digital health tools are developed and how they function, it generally increases their willingness to engage with these digital health tools, which ultimately will help to increase the potential impact.
Recognising this link between digital health literacy, trust, and uptake, the digital health initiative will offer micro-learning courses on some of the core concepts in digital health.
Sustainable Development of the Digital Health Sector
In our rapidly changing world, there is a need to ensure sustainable and long-term development in health systems, avoiding countless short-term pilot projects or utilising unstable technology trends. Not only will this help developers to retain the trust of communities, but it will also ensure that financial, and more importantly physical, resources are invested wisely at a time when our planet’s resources are more stretched than ever before.
Ensuring sustainability in digital health products and digitised health systems relies on designing and building them correctly. Among the repository of resources being developed by this digital health initiative, are guidelines on how to develop digital health in a sustainable and scalable way, ensuring lasting positive health outcomes and the informed allocation of resources.