In May, the World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva Switzerland launched the “Global Digital Health Index” (GDHI), an interactive digital resource. GDHI is able to track, monitor, and evaluate the use of digital technology for health across countries to help foreign ministries, funders, policy makers, and industry make informed strategic decisions for the development of digital health solutions.
Technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, remote patient monitoring devices, and sensors have the potential to save lives and extend the reach of healthcare services. However, many countries are facing challenges in integrating the technologies into their health systems.
“To achieve universal health coverage over the next decade, coherent use of digital health will be key. The Index will be a valuable took at national level to know where to focus efforts and to allow comparison with other countries that have faced similar challenges,” said Dr. Peter Benjamin, Co-Founder of HealthEnabled a digital health nonprofit. The nonprofit co-facilitates the GDHI with the Global Development Incubator (GDI) http://www.globaldevincubator.org, an organization building social impact startups and partnerships.
The users of GDHI will be able to track progress and identify weaknesses within their digital health initiative so they can mature their digital health policy and practice over time. The GDHI will also motive improvements in national digital health systems and improve targeted investments globally.
The GDHI (version one) recently launched includes data from ten countries including Bangladesh, Benin, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
Dr. Ousmane Ly, CEO of the National Agency for Telehealth and Medical Informatics of Mali commented, “The Index is an opportunity for countries to assess the progress made and understand what steps they must take to ensure that digital health will provide all citizens with quality care. Mali will use the Index as a permanent monitoring tool for their national digital health program.”