Strengthening health systems is no longer an issue confined to national borders, but a prerequisite for global health security and well-being. Digital technologies offer tremendous promise to reduce costs and expand global access to health care. However, actual implementation of digital health technologies remains complex and fragmented, especially in low-resource settings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the weaknesses in many of the world’s health care systems — and in our ability to respond and adapt to an urgent health crisis. It has highlighted the potential for digital technologies to expand access to care, as well as the urgent need for digital transformation in low- and middle-income countries to build more resilient health systems. The pandemic has also emphasized the importance of data to respond to global health challenges and the need to safeguard individuals’ right to privacy.
To coincide with the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Devex, the Digital Connected Care Coalition, and Transform Health convened key experts and practitioners for a discussion on the future of digital health technologies in a COVID-19 world and the importance of closer coordination between digital health actors. Together, we took stock of current efforts — including lessons learned and challenges to overcome — to drive a dialogue on how we as a community can accelerate access to care and harness digital health tools to advance universal health coverage.