BY MUDASIR RAJAB
Digital Health is understood to mean “the field of knowledge and practice associated with the development and use of digital technologies to improve health”.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development1 emphasises that there is immense potential for human development to be accelerated, the digital gap to be closed, and knowledge societies to be developed.
Digital transformation of health care can be disruptive; however, technologies such as the Internet of things, virtual care, remote monitoring, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, block chain, smart wearables, platforms, tools enabling data exchange and storage and tools enabling remote data capture and the exchange of data and sharing of relevant information across the health ecosystem creating a continuum of care have proven potential to enhance health outcomes by improving medical diagnosis, data-based treatment decisions, digital therapeutics, clinical trials, self-management of care and person-centred care as well as creating more evidence-based knowledge, skills and competence for professionals to support health care.
The effectiveness and implementation of sustainable systems in delivering excellent, reasonably priced, and balanced care will be improved, and digital health will be appreciated and accepted if it continues to support equal and global access to high-quality health-care services, facilitates disease prevention, diagnostic testing, strategic planning, drug treatment, and hospice care, including before, during, and after an epidemic or pandemic, in a system that acknowledges patient confidentiality. The vision also aims to improve cross-sectoral partnership, innovation, and scientific and technological advancement. It acknowledges that as health systems and services become more computerised, digital health has the potential to significantly alter health outcomes if it is supported by adequate investments in democratic accountability, institutional framework, and working population capacity to support the necessary changes in digital systems and data use training, planning, and management. Digital health may influence the productivity and cost-effectiveness of care with this crucial investment in people and procedures, in line with national goals that outline a vision for the digitization of the health sector, and by enabling new business models in the delivery of services.
A national strategy must include the adoption of suitable digital health technology, although doing so can be challenging, particularly in low, and middle-income nations. The goal of digital health is to improve patient care and realise the ideal of universal health.
The worldwide media transformation places a strong emphasis on the classification of health data as sensitive individual data, or personally identifiable information, requiring a strong level of security and protection. In order to safeguard privacy, secrecy, authenticity, and the availability of information as well as the manufacturing of personal health information it emphasises the need for a potent legal and regulatory framework. It also addresses cyber resilience, mutual understanding, transparency and democratic accountability, morality, fairness, institutional capacity, and educational attainment, making sure that high-quality data are collected and thereafter shared to support planning, designing, and the modification of services. It’s crucial to keep communication regarding data security methods open and transparent.
The significance of online health options goes without saying. The smooth and safe interchange of health information by and between consumers, healthcare professionals, administrators of health systems, and suppliers of health data services should be made possible via an open standard digital health environment. Healthcare practitioners and the medical community are primarily responsible for producing and processing health information.
Promotion of health and disease protection, patient safety, integrity, inter-operability, intellectual property, data protection (confidentiality, authenticity, and accessibility), secrecy, cost-effectiveness, patient involvement, and accessibility are all factors that should be taken into account when using digital health appropriately. It ought to be contextualised, inclusive, egalitarian, effective, trustworthy, efficient, and people-centred. It’s important to properly manage the rising worldwide problem of digital waste’s negative effects on human health and the environment. Despite some nations having achieved significant progress, many still need institutional assistance for the creation and consolidation of national eHealth which often calls for greater resources and skills. The activities of current and recently established digital health organizations will be improved and supplemented by the worldwide strategy on digital health.
The ethical, accessible, trustworthy, effective, egalitarian, and sustainable use of digital health should be a priority for the health sector. Transparency, accessibility, durability, replication, compatibility, confidentiality, cybersecurity, and secrecy should all be considered when developing it.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.
Mudasir Rajab, Ph. D Research Scholar, Department of economics, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh.