Digital Health

Working Groups Co-Chaired by:

Dr. Ann Aerts
Head of the Novartis Foundation
Rajeev Suri
President and CEO of Nokia
Health ICT application and services can be used to significantly expand patient reach and empower patients and their communities in the management of their own health, increase disease awareness and healthcare seeking behaviour, and improve quality of care by centralizing the expertise and connecting community health workers with specialists.
In addition, these applications allow for the use of real-time data, which can make surveillance systems more action-oriented and can facilitate the allocation of the (often limited) resources for health to the priority needs. The current information and communications technology (ICT) applications for health in LMICs are often fragmented and disease or project specific in many countries. There is also a lack of supporting policies, standards regulations and frameworks, which results in many pilots that are rarely scalable and impactful.

Objectives of the Group:

The Working Group is tasked with identifying countries that have successfully integrated health information systems, ICT infrastructure, and health ICT application, showcasing best practices and tools for other countries. Understanding the process of how these countries implemented the architecture to enable health ICT and common standards in, for example, data and privacy, is critical as other countries move towards universal health coverage.

1. Working Group on Health was proposed during the 12th meeting of the Commission held on September 26, 2015. 

2. The group held 2 physical meetings in Dubai (March 2016) and in Geneva (May 2016) as well as several virtual conferences.

3. The Working Group held onsite panel session at the Global Digital Health Forum 2016 on 13 December 2016 to to present preview of the joint report on “Digital Health: A Call for Leadership and Cooperation between ICT and Health”, which is to be released in early 2017


Digital Health

A Call for Leadership and Cooperation between ICT and Health

On 27th February 2017, the Broadband Commission Working Group on Digital Health has launched its final report “Digital Health: A call for Government Leadership and Cooperation between ICT and Health” at the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, during the Ministerial Programme thematic session entitled: Advancing Healthcare through Mobile.    

The report identifies three key observations: (1) The critical importance of senior-level government leadership with committed financing, (2) Effective governance mechanisms, and (3) A national information and communication technology framework which includes connectivity, interoperability, and common standards.


Broadband Commissioners

  1. Novartis Foundation
  2. Nokia
  3. ITU
  5. Dr Sam Pitroda
  6. IADB
  7. Prof. Jeffrey Sachs SDSN/ Columbia
  8. KT
  9. IMDA Singapore
  10. Bharti
  11. Intel
  12. Microsoft
  13. Huawei
  14. GSMA
  15. Government of Rwanda

External Experts

  1. The World Bank
  2. WHO
  3. Ms Florence Gaudry Perkins – Digital Health Partnerships
  4. mPowering Frontline Health Workers
  5. Alvin Marcelo
  6. Norad
  7. PATH
  8. Dimagi
  9. Richard Gakuba
  10. David Novillo Ortiz, PAHO