Top 3 Global Strategies on Digital Health


The World Health Organization (WHO) has formulated a global strategy on digital health for 2020-2025. It aims at improving health for everyone all over the world by steering the promotion of appropriate digital health. The target is to also increase healthcare availability and reduce its costs, especially for countries experiencing shortage of medical professionals.

The digital health strategies involve the employment of clinics softwares, computing platforms, health care sensors, connectivity, and other related uses. The technologies are employed in a wide range of uses, right from general wellness to medical device applications.

The focus to improve world health is on aligning digital health strategies with the transformation in the health industries. So far, healthcare organizations consider digital health as the most productive and economical solution to the primary global health challenges. 

The target is to promote health systems through the various digital health technological strategies for consumers, health care professionals, and the industry. 

Think about the artificial intelligence (AI) functionality in the healthcare industry. Presently, diagnostic software is causing a major impact in developing highly effective imaging appliances. The AI for imaging analytics proves to be a powerful AI solution addressing most medical challenges.

So, what exactly are the global strategies on digital health?

1. Clinic Software As a Medical Device

As global technology advances, clinic management software forms an integral part of the healthcare systems. They are integrated into the digital platforms that serve both the medical and non-medical purposes. The software as a medical device forms one of the software types related to medical devices. 

The other software types related to medical devices are:

  • Software that is integral to the medical device (software in a medical device)
  • Software used in manufacturing or maintaining a medical device.

The digital clinic software has established better treatment plans and diagnostics. It has also helped in optimizing administration tasks and resource management. All these work towards effective patient engagement.

The software is intended to be used for various medical purposes. And, it can achieve those purposes without being part of the hardware medical device.

Presently, the use of  Software as a Medical Device continues to increase. Often, it must be able to run on general-purpose (non-medical purposes) computing platforms. That’s why the digital tool is also a medical scheduling software. 

The best clinics software is formulated to enhance the patient-clinician relationship. The software makes service coordination easier. Hence, the medical practice management software enables healthcare administrators to save time and costs by automating their patient scheduling procedures. 

So, as a clinician, you can quickly respond to patients’ requests for appointments, and confirm a specific service’s time slot. Resultantly, patients cannot struggle hard to schedule appointments with doctors. And, they cannot forget their medical check-ups.

The instant updates on the scheduling systems help put things in order. This prevents misunderstandings amongst medical staff, and between staff and patients.

2. Connected Software Solutions (Internet of Things)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a wireless system consisting of interrelated digital devices. The system can collect, store and send data over a network without the need for human to human or human to computer interaction. 

The IoT comes with many benefits of a streamlined and enhanced healthcare delivery. It helps to proactively diagnose and predict health issues. The digital devices can also treat patients, and monitor them in and out of the hospital. 

Global leaders and key decision-makers are now implementing policies that enable the delivery of healthcare services using topnotch technology. It is now important, more than ever before, to understand how the established and upcoming IoT technologies boost health systems by delivering safe and effective care. 

IoT enables the exploration of new dimensions in patient care. This is possible through real-time health monitoring and patients health data access. Such data is essential for healthcare stakeholders. It helps to:

  • Improve patient’s health and overall experiences
  • Increase revenue opportunities
  • Improve healthcare operations.

Do you know that you can collect health metrics such as heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, and more from patients who are physically absent in a medical facility? Yes, this is now possible with IoT devices. 

Thus, healthcare practitioners get to save time by eliminating the need for patients to come all the way to the health facility, or for them to collect their results physically.

Healthcare devices are now the fast-growing sectors of the IoT market. The value of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is estimated to attain $176 billion by 2026.

There are multiple ways in which IoT devices can be used effectively in healthcare. Such include:

  • Glucose monitoring
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Hand hygiene monitoring
  • IoT connected inhalers
  • Ingestible sensors
  • Connected contact lenses
  • Robotic surgery

3. Telehealth

Telehealth refers broadly to electronic and telecommunications technologies and services used to provide care and services at-a-distance.

Telehealth is a wide-ranging remote health care service. It refers to non-clinical remote services. This involves the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance:

  • Clinical healthcare
  • Patient and professional health-related education
  • Public health
  • Health administration. 

Technologies here incorporate:

  • Video conferencing
  • The internet
  • Streaming media 
  • Store-and-forward imaging
  • Terrestrial and wireless communications.

Medical practitioners can apply telehealth in the following areas:

  • Live video conferencing- this is a two-way audio visual link between a health care provider and a patient.
  • Store-and-forward videoconferencing- the transmission of an already recorded patient’s health history to a medical practitioner, mostly a specialist.
  • Remote patient monitoring (RPM)– it involves the use of connected electronic devices to document an individual’s personal medical and health data in one location. The health data is then reviewed by a different healthcare provider in another location, and at a different time.
  • Mobile health (mHealth)- this involves the provision of health care and public health information through mobile devices. The data may include:general educational information, notifications about disease outbreaks, and targeted texts.

Key Takeaways

There’s no greater joy than witnessing an improved healthcare system with increased patient survival outcomes.

The digital health strategies allow healthcare practitioners to focus more on a patient’s individual needs. They’re geared towards achieving wellness by making informed healthcare choices. Besides, patients get to enjoy safer, higher quality, personalized, and more effective treatments, with lower costs. 

Global digital health is basically the use of technology to improve health. It brings forth enhanced healthcare services through various components of digital health. Such include connected software solutions (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and telehealth. All these are integral to the patient-driven health model.

Increasing the access of quality and digital healthcare, especially in countries with fewer medical staff improves the wellness of the overall global population. 

Ultimately, to deliver this great global healthcare potential, national or regional digital health initiatives should be guided by a powerful strategy; one that incorporates organizational, human, financial, and technological resources.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.