Digital health

We are working to leverage digital tools to ensure equitable and timely access to reliable diagnosis.

Digital technologies, including mobile applications and electronic health records, have a vital role to play in diagnosis across the healthcare cascade – from supporting screening and ensuring accurate diagnosis to providing treatment monitoring information.

With trained healthcare personnel often in short supply at all levels, expanding access to diagnosis for people in remote and rural areas of low- and middle-income countries can be especially challenging. Connected diagnostics can be deployed widely and used in community settings, reducing the need for people to travel to centralized laboratories for a test. Connected digital tools – such as a mobile application that records patient results from community-based testing programmes, which feeds information into the national surveillance system –  can also ensure that population-level data are collected for disease surveillance to help decision-makers optimize the allocation of resources and develop policy.

To drive demand for screening and diagnosis, focus is needed early in the patient pathway to empower patients and their influencers to build health knowledge, develop agency and engage in more efficient care-seeking. Digital health solutions that provide clinical decision support to healthcare workers (in the community, in primary care and in the local private sector) can help them work with greater efficiency and improve the quality of care. To enable effective use of diagnostic data for surveillance, as well as electronic health records and supply chain management, interoperability is critical between various diagnostic devices, systems and applications.

Our focus is on collaboration with Ministries of Health, technology companies, device manufacturers and implementation partners to support the development and scale up of fit-for-purpose digital solutions that can be integrated into existing workflows, and that are suitable for healthcare workers’ digital literacy levels and local digital infrastructure.

Assessment of diagnostic needs and digital health solutions in Peru, India, Nigeria and Uganda