In recent years, digital strategies for health have emerged as innovative tools that demonstrate tremendous potential to address health problems in low and middle income settings.
Digital health encompasses digital applications, technologies, and systems related to healthcare. This involves the use of both hardware and software solutions to strengthen health systems and support the diagnosis, management, prediction and prevention of diseases. Within digital health strategies there are sub-specialities such as electronic health (eHealth), mobile health (mHealth), as well as big data, sensors and wearables, telemedicine, HealthIT, etc.
These innovations can deliver better access to knowledge and information by improving service delivery and reducing crisis response time. There is growing evidence demonstrating the potential of mobile communications, for example, to improve the quality of healthcare services and reporting radically, even in remote and resource poor environments (mHealth). Mobile phone coverage is growing rapidly across the world, both in terms of network coverage and the exponential number of users.
mHealth can serve as the access point for entering patient data into national health information systems, provide remote guidance and supervision support for health workers, and facilitate real-time surveillance and response to outbreaks and key health programme indicators.
We are leading in the development of innovative mHealth strategies to assist diagnosis, community health worker motivation and performance, patient counselling, data management, stock out alert systems, surveillance and training.