The global health community is finally realizing that technology is only one piece of a digital health system. Aligning people and processes are just as important, especially given the role that both play in facilitating the uptake of new technology and promoting sustainability.
When mobile access expands, so does the reach of mobile-first content. Using smartphones, we can reach the previously unreached with HIV prevention interventions.
JSI’s Steve Ollis discusses the evolution of digital health and key takeaways from the fourth annual Global Digital Health Forum. He also highlights tools that touch on the most critical components for successful digital health programs.
Digital health tools are still seen as an add-on to an overall technical approach rather than as a critical component to achieving public health outcomes. That disconnect underlines that not only is there a benefit but there is also an imperative to better familiarize program-focused people with the current state of digital health.
The Global Digital Health Forum brought together digital health practitioners, ministry officials, and program experts from across the globe. In this blog, JSI’s Caitlin Viccora shares some of the key takeaways from the forum.
In many countries, at both community and facility levels, it is often under-resourced frontline health workers who enter duplicative data into paper-based systems—data which is then not used effectively for decision-making. Workshop attendees learned how digital tools are being used to collect data as part of service provision and shared across interoperable information systems. This interoperability allows development of people-centered information systems and facilitates continuity of care.
Blockchain is the hot new technology topic in the financial world, the health sector, and the supply chain industry. It has a variety of applications in health, not least of which are medicine traceability and patient data management. This is just as true for the US domestic health sector as it is for health systems in low- and middle-income countries.
I am passionate about the innovation that I represented at this forum, but it is very different to these innovations of “things”. Our proposal, partnering with Dimagi, is to replicate an approach JSI implemented and scaled with the Ministry of Health in Malawi and take those lessons to Kenya. While our approach does include innovative use of technology, a simple mHealth supply chain management tool for community health workers, this approach also includes IMPACT teams.