Innovation Horizons | International Community Building to Advance Digital Health: The Global Digital Health Partnership
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International Community Building to Advance Digital Health: The Global Digital Health Partnership

International Community Building to Advance Digital Health: The Global Digital Health Partnership

Given the vast diversity of health care system models around the world, have you ever wondered how information technology and health care services can be created to support global needs? A new intergovernmental group has been formed to help lower barriers for international uses of data and hasten innovation in health care. This past week, government digital health leaders from 15 countries from around the world met in Canberra, Australia for the first meeting of the Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP).

The GDHP is a new inter-governmental strategy to address big-picture challenges that represent barriers to the adoption of health information technology solutions and uses of data in health care. The origins of GDHP emanate from bilateral work groups initially formed in 2012 between the National Health Service of the United Kingdom and US Department of Health and Human Services. Through a series of inter-government agreements, strategic areas of data and information sharing and partnerships were initiated. The goals of the partnership are to:

  • Address high priority multinational topics;
  • To accelerate technology adoption;
  • Hasten economic development;
  • Promote advances in health outcomes; and
  • Encourage entrepreneurship in uses of health care data.

 
To help bring that experience to a broader level of impact, I’ve been working with the head of the Australian Digital Health Authority, Tim Kelsey, in developing a working model, terms of reference and framework for an advisory body to help the GDHP leaders with requisite subject matter expertise for aligning the work activities to emerging needs.

What are the areas of collaboration?
For 2018, teams represented by subject matter experts of two or more countries will be connected and work on five trending areas of cross cutting interests including:

  • Connected and interoperable health care;
  • Cybersecurity;
  • Policies that support digital health outcomes;
  • Clinician and consumer engagement; and
  • Evidence and evaluation of digital health.

 
During the work stream framing sessions, I facilitated discussions among the countries participants. In closing out the formal sessions, I also provided a keynote talk on emerging information technology issues focused on the applications of artificial intelligence in health care. You can read more on this issue in a white paper I developed for the meeting participants to facilitate broad understanding of the technology.

Later in the week, I participated in the International Digital Health Symposium public event that was hosted by The George Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. This event, also chaired by Tim Kelsey, engaged the public audience in discussion on cutting edge perspectives that address policies and initiatives to hasten the delivery of digital health to consumers around the world. Keynote addresses were presented by John Chen, CEO of Blackberry and Dr. Devi Shetty, CEO of Narayana Health, one of the largest health care systems in India. I participated in the meeting’s program in a panel discussion on international innovation incentives and how governments can hasten digital health services development.

What to watch? The next meeting of the GDHP will be held at this year’s Health Datapalooza in Washington DC the last week of April.

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