The digital transformation of health offers the potential to improve the quality, coverage, affordability and accessibility of health services, to help and accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage. It is therefore critical for national governments to allocate necessary funding to digitally enable their health systems as part of wider health system strengthening investment, and to ensure that this is part of their national plans and priorities. While some countries are able to mobilise the necessary funding domestically, others require additional support through international funding.

Enabling sustainable and coordinated investment to support digital-enabled health systems therefore, has been a core objective for Transform Health since its inception.

Transform Health is advocating for increased and coordinated investment to support the equitable, inclusive, and sustainable digital transformation of health systems in low and middle income countries.

We are calling for:

  • Concrete actions to increase domestic and international financing, aligned with national plans
  • The right mechanisms in place to ensure better coordinated investment across stakeholders

Current challenges

To support the sustainable, system-wide digital transformation of national health systems, we must address existing challenges and increase investments and coordinate funding flows.

  • Countries and external stakeholders have begun to step up their investments in  digital technologies for the health sector. But many investments have so far been short term and often focused on stand-alone solutions for specific health challenges rather than strategic investments to strengthen health systems.
  • Such fragmented, short-term approaches place significant transaction costs on the health system, particularly on the healthcare workers involved, and often fail to deliver the long-term sustainable changes that are needed.
  • Policymakers lack information about the overall need and demand for digitally enabled health services or the system requirements necessary to enable digital solutions to be integrated and scaled across the health system.
  • Investors in digital health are often lacking clear answers on what to invest in and where to channel their investments most effectively and equitably. When this information is not easily available, investors may not be aware of who else is investing in this sector, thus losing out on fruitful collaborations to achieve economies of scale.
  • None of the existing global health financing instruments have the mandate and  capacity to channel large-scale investments in support of digital health.

Making the case for increased investment

Transform Health is working with our partners, Joep Lange Institute and PATH/Digital Square, to develop a Conceptual Framework to make the case for investment to support the inclusive, equitable and sustainable digital transformation of health systems in low- and middle-income countries (L/MICs). It will provide an evidence-based approach to prioritise investment areas and define the level of investment necessary to support the financing of digital health transformation.

We want to demonstrate to governments and investors that with coordinated, targeted, large-scale investments, they can catalyse and dramatically accelerate the digital transformation of countries’ primary healthcare systems towards achieving universal health coverage.

We are taking an inclusive approach in developing the framework. We have set up a Global Research Consortium which brings together youth experts, four regional teams that represent perspectives from diverse stakeholder groups; and global analytics and research teams.

Launch of the conceptual framework

The case for investment will be launched globally at the World Health Summit in Berlin on 18th October, and across regions.

It will support Transform Health’s advocacy work on enabling increased and better coordinated funding for digital health and galvanising action from governments, donors, development partners, the private sector and other stakeholders.

Resources

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