Global Initiative on Digital Health: G20 Summit

Context: India, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), will launch the Global Initiative on Digital Health as part of the ongoing G-20 summit.

Global Initiative on Digital Health 

Need of Such Initiative

  • To align the digital health initiatives of country.
  • To reduce duplication and optimise impact of digital health initiatives
  • To provide information on the funding levels in the country in Digital Health. 
  • To reduce the gaps in domestic and external investment in digital health, particularly for low and lower-middle income countries.
  • To provide a global platform that can respond to the complex digital health ecosystem.

The GIDH, the first such global initiative aimed at data convergence, interface of health platforms and investments in the digital health space around the globe, 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 through a focus on four foundational pillars:

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  1. Country Needs Tracker – ensuring digital health investments are informed by country priorities.
  2. Country Resource Portal – identifying traditional as well as innovative resource opportunities, enhancing transparency and reducing risk of duplication while enabling a standards-based prospective and retrospective analysis of resourcing gaps in digital health. 
  3. Transformation Toolbox – quality assured tools and resources that strengthen country capacity and autonomy to manage their national digital health transformation journey.
  4. Convening and Knowledge Exchange – promoting strengthened collaboration and knowledge exchange across global, regional, and national networks in digital health.

Aims of GIDH 

  • Align efforts to support of 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

Expected output in the period 

  • Country needs for technical support will be systematically captured and made accessible to development partners through a standardized Country Needs Portal.
  • A platform will be created to announce and identify resources and gaps in financial and in-kind commitments in digital health available to countries, development partners and technical partners.
  • Countries will have timely access to routinely updated tools to measure maturity of the enabling environment for digital health, track digital health initiatives, guide the development and updating of digital health related strategies and policies, and identifying quality-assured digital solutions. 
  • There will be continuous cross-network knowledge exchange between existing global, regional, and national communities of practice, coalitions and more institutionalized within the WHO.

Expected Outcomes from the Initiative

  • Increased transparency and alignment on availability and reporting of digital health resources and unfunded priorities.
  • Improved alignment, collaboration, and knowledge exchange on standards based and deliberate technical assistance between countries, development and technical partners supporting national digital health transformation.  
  • Strengthened enabling environment for sustained whole-of-government approaches to national Digital Health Governance. 
  • Increased technical and financial support for the accelerated achievement of the WHO’s Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020 – 2025 and its next phase. 
  • Strengthened country ownership of quality assured investments in digital health implementation needed to sustainably accelerate national health priorities.

Benefits of Digital Health space for India

  • Inclusiveness: It will provide equal opportunity of access to better health facilities and outcomes to all citizen of India.
  • Respect: As it decreases human contact and provides individual digital autonomy, it increases consideration for human dignity, privacy and law.
  • Human flourishing and centeredness: Designed for human benefit with accountability for outcomes which will promote social good with sustainable growth.
  • Collaboration: It promotes interoperability to facilitate co-working and co-development in the health sector.
  • Accessibility: It provides for a simple, reliable and affordable healthcare alternative which increases the accessibility of health services to every section of Indian society.
  • Sustainability: It also aligns with the best practices of zero-carbon, zero-waste economy in the process and provides sustainable alternative for future.
  • Harmony: As it provides flexibility in adoption it leads to use of digital health initiatives by governments and businesses in good faith without exploiting or provoking conflicts.

A global platform which can respond to the complex digital health ecosystem by aligning investments, strengthening the enabling environment and enhancing quality assured technical support while promoting countries’ autonomy in their digital health transformation journeys can only reduce the global burden of disease while increasing the promotion between the states.

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