Moving along in the digital transformation of health
Building the enabling environment for digital health transformation includes ensuring the right level of funding directed to the right priorities that will strengthen primary healthcare and national health systems. Little information exists about the financial resource requirements for the digital transformation of health systems, or how funding should be invested and in what sequence. Understanding the funding needs and gaps, as well as the funding modalities to ensure greater country coordination and alignment is critical for the effective, equitable and sustainable digital transformation of health systems.
At the World Health Summit 2022 in Berlin, Transform Health launched a new report titled ‘Closing the digital divide: More and better funding for the digital transformation of health’, which calls attention to the urgent need for increased and coordinated funding for digital health.
The report frames the thinking on how to guide investments and action for digital health transformation in low- and lower-middle-income countries. It was developed by Transform Health, with the support of its partners Joep Lange Institute (JLI) and PATH, and with research contributions from regional networks covering five regions and the Young Experts: Tech 4 Health, who carried out youth consultations. It was guided by Transform Health’s Resource and Investment Circle and a Global Research Consortium that was set up to bring together the expertise of regional and global partners and young people from around the world.
The report identifies nine priority areas for digital health investments, ranging from health financing to data governance. Based on a costed estimate of these nine areas, it estimates an annual investment of 2.5 billion USD over the next five years as a minimum requirement for progress to be made towards digital health transformation in low and lower-middle-income countries.
The report calls for:
Through our articles, such as ‘Outlining our vision for a global HDG Framework’, Transform Health has established its thought leadership on this issue. We are currently working with the Digital and Data Governance Working Group of the Health Data Collaborative to carry out a landscape analysis of digital and data governance frameworks, tools and standards, to help inform the development of a global health data governance framework.
We have strengthened coalition and partner engagement on health data governance, including aligning partners around a co-created coalition HDG advocacy strategy and a roadmap towards a WHA resolution. To enable our partners to take effective action, we developed the HDG Advocacy and Communications Toolkit – a one-stop shop of resources to support partners as they advocate for stronger governance of health data. We have also set up an HDG Working Group to engage with a broader spectrum of interested partners on the issue and jointly take forward this work.
The session that saw the launch of the report was titled ‘Bridging the Digital Divide: Securing More and Better Funding for the Digital Transformation of Health Systems’, which we co-organised with JLI, PATH, AeHIN, HELINA, RECAINSA, ZIMAM and YET4H, and brought together a panel of experts from different sectors to discuss the need for increased investment, the role of different actors, and opportunities to take this issue forward. Participants expressed their strong support for the recommendations in the report. The report launch was covered by Healthy Developments, an online publication by the German Development Cooperation in Health and Social Protection (BMZ).
We generated momentum on this issue all year ahead of, and after the launch, convening key stakeholders both globally and regionally, and continuous engagement with donors and international partners throughout the development of the report. These included:
WS 30 – Bridging the Digital Divide