On 5 February, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a list of facts supporting the importance of the application of digital health to health systems, being an area where increasing investments are being made by Ministries of health across the WHO European Region.
The importance of digitalisation is supported through the following points:
1. Digital health goes beyond the use of mobile and internet technologies, encompassing electronic health, computing science and artificial intelligence (AI) and drawing upon technologies that, besides mobile phones and applications, include telemedicine, wearable devices, robotics and genomics;
2. Digitalisation can help make health systems responsive and sustainable, improving accessibility, quality of care and health systems efficiency, while reducing the costs, for instance through early disease detection and personalised treatments;
3. Digital health enables the transition from treatment to prevention, offering ways to self-manage health and facilitating the regular monitoring of health-related information;
4. Digital health systems call for modified roles of health-care professionals, as they need to own the skills to use digital health tools and to guide patients in using them;
5. Digitalisation allows health-care professionals more time to practice medicine, reducing their administrative workload, for instance through digital solutions that automatically capture and analyse data. Digitalisation may also solve the issue of current and projected shortages of health professionals;
6. Digital health systems can help reduce inequalities in health, making health information more accessible, promoting health literacy and healthy behaviours, and providing access to support networks for patients. Furthermore, telemedicine allows people located in remote areas to access medical services.
You can find the full WHO’s press release here.