Tech know-how needed to bring digital health efforts to scale

via Devex YouTube channel

Digital technology is changing the way health care practitioners do their job everywhere, even in the most remote areas of the world. Through telemedicine, for example, it means nurses and community health workers can be reached by phone and coached, decentralizing areas of expertise.

Dr. Ann Aerts, head of the Novartis Foundation, discussed some of the details of projects the foundation is leading in an interview with Devex at the Wired for Impact dialogue event in Accra, Ghana, last month. She outlined the need to engage partners in other sectors for their technological know-how.

“As telemedicine is an example of one area where we don’t have the expertise in-house, on digital, we call upon other partners like telecommunications companies or experts, and telemedicine experts, to work on bringing this to scale,” said Aerts.

As well as highlighting successes, she also mentioned some lessons learned through pilot projects and obstacles in scaling, citing local ownership from the outset and a focus on beneficiary needs as crucial.

“You have to build all your interventions around the reality of the patients,” Aerts said.

Watch the video above for more on common standards for digital health, the Novartis Foundation’s work with the Broadband Commission and the importance of infrastructure.

Wired for Impact is an online conversation with Novartis Foundation and Devex to explore how to integrate digital health into global development in a way that is scalable and sustainable, and improves the overall quality of health care delivery to build essential connections between patients, health facilities, health providers and policymakers. Tag #Wired4Impact and @Devex to join the conversation.

About the author

  • Helen Morgan

    Helen Morgan is an Associate Editor at Devex. She has a background in human rights, radio and journalism, and has written for a variety of international publications while living and working in Buenos Aires, New York and Shanghai. She is now based in Barcelona and supports editorial content on campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. She is currently studying a master's degree in contemporary migration.