FIND statement at telehealth side-event during the second G20 health working group meeting

Side event on Bridging the Gap: leveraging telehealth for equitable healthcare across the G20

Delivered by Dr Sergio Carmona, acting CEO
8 April 2024, Brasilia, Brazil

We congratulate the Brazilian Presidency on its leadership and focus on prioritizing tele health solutions to ensure equitable access to healthcare. It is clear that Telehealth has a vital role to play in addressing diagnostic gaps across the healthcare cascade.

It can promote effective delivery of health services by bringing screening and diagnosis closer to individuals and enabling them to take charge of their own health, supporting healthcare workers with improving quality of care, and enabling the collection of real-time data for disease surveillance to inform decision makers (e.g as we saw from the example of Cape Verde provided Dr Vanda Azevedo).

At FIND, leveraging learnings from our work to support development, evaluation and implementation of digital diagnostic innovations and echoing recommendations made by South Africa, Indonesia, Japan and partners including WHO, we propose prioritizing the following enablers for establishing an effective and collaborative telehealth ecosystem:

  • Strengthening digital connectivity at the last mile, especially for underserved populations;
  • Harmonizing regulatory and policy pathways to guide the adoption and scale up of telehealth tools in LMICs and incentivizing private sector to adopt these policies;
  • Supporting the creation of a community of practice and knowledge exchange on best practices and evidence sharing;
  • Steering the development of interoperability standards for data exchange in telehealth interventions, including for diagnostic and imaging data;
  • Building understanding among policymakers and capacity of healthcare workers on the appropriate selection and use of telehealth technologies, including for telediagnosis
  • Developing strong data governance, privacy and security frameworks to protect the right to privacy of patients and mitigate risks,
  • Ensuring data-driven monitoring for optimal and consistent delivery of telehealth services, and
  • Adopting financing mechanisms and incentives to ensure telehealth services are sufficiently resourced to respond to emerging needs and advancements.

Chair, we urge the G20 to consider how to realize these enablers for a conducive telehealth environment and we thank you.