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WHO’s Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) |

WHO’s Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH)

Context

∙ The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH), a platform for sharing knowledge and digital products among countries.

Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH)

∙ The GIDH will be a WHO Managed Network (“Network of Networks”) that will promote equitable access to digital health by addressing challenges such as duplication of efforts and “products-focused” digital health transformation.

Aim:

∙ ALIGN efforts to support the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025;

∙ SUPPORT quality assured technical assistance to develop and strengthen standards-based and interoperable systems aligned to global best practices, norms and standards;

∙ FACILITATE the deliberate use of quality assured digital transformation tools that enable governments to manage their digital health transformation journey.

∙ The GIDH will focus on following four foundational pillars:

WHO’s Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) |

Digital health in India

∙ Digital health refers to the utilization of digital technologies across the healthcare ecosystem, aiming to improve accessibility, affordability, and efficiency of healthcare services for individuals and healthcare providers.

WHO’s Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) |

Significance

∙ Improved Access: Digital tools can reach remote areas, connect patients to specialists, and enable virtual consultations, expanding healthcare access.

∙ Enhanced Affordability: Telemedicine, electronic prescribing, and data-driven resource allocation can potentially reduce healthcare costs.

∙ Personalized Care: Electronic health records (EHRs) and wearable devices facilitate personalized treatment plans and preventive care.

∙ Empowered Patients: Digital platforms can educate patients, enhance medication adherence, and promote self-management of chronic conditions.

∙ Streamlined Healthcare Delivery: Digitization empowers efficient data management, administrative processes, and resource optimization within healthcare systems.

Challenges

∙ Infrastructure Gaps: Unequal access to internet connectivity, electricity, and digital devices hinders widespread adoption.

∙ Data Privacy and Security: Concerns and regulations regarding patient data privacy and security require robust solutions.

∙ Digital Literacy: Bridging the digital divide through training and awareness programs is crucial for patient and provider involvement.

∙ Interoperability and Standards: Seamless integration and exchange of data across different healthcare IT systems is needed.

∙ Skilled Workforce: Building a workforce equipped to handle digital health technologies and data analysis is vital.

Government initiatives

WHO’s Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) |

∙ National Digital Health Mission (NDHM): Aims to create a national digital health ecosystem with unique health IDs, EHRs, and a health data exchange platform.

∙ Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM): Focuses on creating a digital infrastructure for ABHIM, with health registries, e-claim processing, and telemedicine.

∙ E Sanjeevani Telemedicine Platform: Facilitates virtual consultations between doctors and patients across the country.

∙ Jan Arogya Setu App and COWIN Platform: Provides access to health services, appointment booking, and COVID-19 information.

∙ Digital Aarogya Mitra (DAM): A community health worker program leveraging technology for data collection and community health interventions.

Way Ahead

∙ Digital health is a proven accelerator to advance health outcomes and achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health-related Sustainable Development Goals. Hence, it needs to be made integral to every health policy.

∙ As Deputy Secretary-General of ITU said recently that nearly half the world’s population might not have access to health services they need, but 90% have access to a 3G connection, showing the potential for digital health.∙ By scaling up existing initiatives, collaborating across stakeholders, and fostering innovation, India can leverage digital health to achieve its goal of universal healthcare and ensure better health outcomes for all

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