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Digital Health Strategies

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ About ICT Applications

According to WHO 2018 reports, over 63% of countries have implemented digital health policies and national strategy. The digital age is in the process of transforming the entire health sector and how healthcare is delivered: Digital Health solutions can increase access to health services, deliver training for health professionals, empower patients, provide better diagnostics and health information for the individual. ICT and digital health solutions offer the prospect of bringing into reach the targets of SDG 3 for health and well-being making universal health coverage for all a reality by 2030. ​
However, digital health projects and ICT applications rarely reach scale in the often fragmented digital health ecosystems which lack engagement and cross sector collaboration between ICT and Health ministries. National digital health strategies play an important role in addressing the fragmentation, and they are essential for facilitating standards for interoperability, regulations and policies to support digital health solutions. ITU assists partners and members in the development and implementation of digital health policy and strategy and the integration with the national healthcare system, most notably through the WHO–ITU co-created National E-Health Strategy Toolkit . For a list of eHealth sectoral strategy and policy, see the Directory of eHealth policies (last update March 2016).
The expert, practical guide that provides foundation, resources and method to implement​​ ​National Digital Health Strategy.          

​Representing one of the most significant collaborations between WHO and ITU Telecommunication Union, the Toolkit is a landmark in understanding what eHealth/Digital Health is, what it can do, and why and how it should be applied today.

The context – Worldwide, the application of information and communication technologies to support national health-care services is rapidly expanding and increasingly important. Especially so at a time when health systems face stringent economic challenges and greater demands to provide more and better care.

The Toolkit – To facilitate the creation of comprehensive eHealth/Digital Health strategy at country level and integrating it within the national health service, the National eHealth Strategy Toolkit is an expert, practical guide that provides a solid foundation and method for developing and implementing a national Digital Health vision, action plan and monitoring framework. The Need for national planning – Experience has shown that harnessing ICT for health requires strategic and integrated action at the national level, and that a common vision, a clear action plan, collaboration between the health and ICT sectors as well as concerted action are central to effectively use resources, and investment in skills and infrastructure to improve health outcomes.

The Purpose and Audience – All countries, whatever their level of development, can adapt the Toolkit to suit their own circumstances. The National eHealth Strategy Toolkit is a resource for developing or revitalizing a country’s eHealth/Digital Health strategy. This includes countries that are seeking to build on promising results from pilot initiatives, establish foundations for scaling up eHealth projects, or update strategies to reflect changing circumstances.

Relevant resources and links:

National E-Health Strategy Toolkit​ (2012)​ 
Link to World Health Organization – eHealth ​​
​ITU– WHO Directory of eHealth policies (last update March 2016) 


National E-Health Strategy Toolkit (2012). Worldwide, the application of information and communication technologies to support national health-care services is rapidly expanding and increasingly important​. Download v​ia ITU publications...
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