Maps are an important visualization tool. They translate information from values and text fields into something we can grasp more quickly. Throughout the global health sector, maps are being used to bring transparency to data sets in new ways—and to help foster coordination in delivering effective health programs.
Jean Mory Millimono sits in an office at the Regional Health Directorate in Faranah, Guinea. As a Statistics Manager, Jean works with data to better understand the health of more than 900,000 people in his region. He uses the data available to him through Guinea’s health information management system—District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2)—to better understand the health services and needs of these communities. However, until recently, data in DHIS2 could only be analyzed at the regional, district, and health facility level, keeping Jean and his counterparts in other subdistricts from effectively monitoring health indicators and comparing the performance of facilities within the same municipality.
Digital technology has changed the way health information is collected, used, and communicated, and it has the potential to dramatically improve health service delivery. Health workers are better able to track and serve patients, health officials are better able to allocate resources, and patients have greater access to information to fulfill their health care needs. However, poor coordination in the digital health sector has led to duplicate systems, fragmented data, and frustration for health workers, decision-makers, and patients alike. The sector is recognizing this historic lack of coordination as a barrier to its collective success. To address it, governments and donors are forging a new way forward.
The Coordinating Digital Transformation case study series explores three examples of how stakeholders came together to create mechanisms for coordinating digital health investments and implementations, and as a result are improving the quality and use of health data.
The Global Goods Guidebook is the newest addition to the resources supporting greater collaboration in the digital health sector.
Digital health is experiencing unprecedented growth in coordination and collaboration. Governments, funders, technology experts, and implementers, are working together in new and innovative ways. Collaboration requires shared language, shared values, and a shared vision. Many of these were codified in 2015 with the Principles of Digital Development—a set of nine principles that guide our actions and partnerships. Then last year, donors endorsed a set of Digital Investment Principles. The Digital Investment Principles describe the role investors have in promoting scalable, sustainable, accessible, interoperable, and evidence-based digital health systems. Both sets of principles have rallied stakeholders around our shared responsibility to help countries meet their digital health needs.
Digital health continues to change the way health systems reach communities around the world. However, when internet connectivity is limited or intermittent, health workers do not reap the full benefits of digital tools. This is a barrier that SolDevelo is working to remove. Last year, SolDevelo began working on a new module for the Open Medical Record System (OpenMRS), an open source medical records platform.
Digital Square is pleased to announce its new Executive Director, Skye Gilbert.
In this role, Skye will help guide the future of Digital Square’s co-investment, global goods, country capacity, and regional partnership work. When she is not busy driving towards health equity, Skye can be found rock climbing or skiing in the mountains. Read more about her motivation for leading Digital Square.
Nearly a decade ago, the global community that uses District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2) began reaching out to one another in forums and email chains to work through complex problems. They wanted to know if others had encountered a challenge, and, if so, how they solved it. Could they avoid “reinventing the wheel”? What lessons could be learned from the experience of others and could they apply them to their challenge?
Everyone was longing for one central place to connect with each other—to find relevant resources, share user stories and solutions, and ask for support…
Digital Square is pleased to announce that nine proposals were selected for investment as part of our third round of funding, Notice C, which included two announcements, Notice C0 and Notice C1. A total of $1.26 million is being invested into these digital health software tools by multiple donors. One of these donors, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), committed a total of $151,827 to coinvest alongside Digital Square’s funding for Notice C1. Notice C was implemented using Digital Square’s Open Proposal Process and Platform (OPP&P). Concept notes and proposals were publicly posted, giving submitters the opportunity to find collaborators and provide and receive feedback from peers. The iterative feedback and proposal process allowed submitters to refine and strengthen their concepts before final submission. More information on our proposal process can be found here.
People often think of innovation in digital health as a new device or tool. But innovation most often doesn’t materialize into an object that one can ever touch or feel. Whether it be approaches to scale or investment models, the real innovations in digital health are the approaches taken to navigate hurdles to help countries appropriately harness digital systems and tools to improve health outcomes. Digital Square fully embraces all kinds of innovation in the digital health space. We are at our core, an innovative investment mechanism, supported by a growing consortium of donors; something very unique in the global health ecosystem.
The Digital Square team, along with other members of PATH’s Digital Health Program will be joining colleagues and collaborators from around the world for the 2018 Global Digital Health Forum. This year, the Forum explores how new frameworks like the Classifications of Digital Health Interventions can help us design a shared language for digital health. With a shared language, digital health practitioners are better able to create holistic, seamless digital health systems that make use of different tools, partners, and workflows to meet the diverse and ever-changing needs of a country’s health care system.