Much fanfare about the acceleration of digital health services during the pandemic, but most don’t work for billions living in low-connectivity regions. We need to also accelerate digital health services that work for everyone on the planet!
The acceleration of digital health services during the pandemic has been accompanied by growing concerns about the ‘digital divide’ in global healthcare. The growth in virtual care has been predominantly in more affluent, urban populations.
Rural communities across low- and middle-income countries have found themselves even more isolated from health support during lockdowns. Vaccine drives have also been hindered by digital barriers, such as in India where poor rural communities lack information on how to register and the internet access to book through the online system.
3.7 billion people live in regions in the world without internet connectivity, and so many digital health services just don’t work for these populations. This is a huge barrier to achieving Universal Health Coverage for all and missed opportunity for healthcare businesses unable to reach emerging markets for their services and products. These are three priorities for building digital health services that work for everyone on the planet.