The report is being launched alongside the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, which will review global progress towards preventing and controlling NCDs. NCDs, such as heart and lung diseases, cancer and diabetes, were responsible for 41 million deaths in 2016. Over 85% of NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Worldwide, digital technology is already contributing to better and faster healthcare – healthcare that is more empowering and accessible for patients, more efficient for healthcare providers and more cost-effective for health systems. The report sets out six building blocks, accompanied by country examples, to help policymakers realize the full potential of digital technology to strengthen their health systems and accelerate Universal Health Coverage:
Policy makers need to prioritize, formulate and coordinate national digital health strategies
Legal frameworks are essential to protect patients while enabling innovation
Standardized infrastructureallows information to be shared and used across the journey of patients with chronic diseases such as NCDs
Interoperability between diverse digital health solutions and data sources is a must to enable coordinated NCD management
Partnerships combine expertise, assets and ideas to amplify the scale and impact of successful digital health solutions
Sustained financing is mandatory to scale successful digital health solutions
Dr. Ann Aerts, Head of the Novartis Foundation and Co-Chair of the Working Group, urges governments to view digital health as a necessity for achieving Universal Health Coverage. “Digital health should be considered an integral part of the health system, just like hospital beds are. Over the past decade, we have seen how simple and readily available digital technology can transform health systems, expand access to millions and revolutionize how we treat chronic disease such as NCDs.”
Jennifer Esposito, Worldwide General Manager, Health and Life Sciences Group, Intel Corporation, adds: “Digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and high-speed 5G networks can improve the efficiency and quality of healthcare, enhance health system governance, and improve monitoring and accountability – all critical for addressing the growing burden of NCDs. This report sets a clear process for implementing digital health solutions, including ensuring standardization and interoperability at a national level.”
About the Broadband Commission
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development was established in 2010 and comprises more than 50 leaders from across a range of government and industry sectors. They are committed to actively supporting countries, UN experts and NGO teams to fully leverage the huge potential of ICT to drive national Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) strategies in key areas like education, healthcare, gender equality and environmental management.
About the Novartis Foundation
The Novartis Foundation is a philanthropic organization aiming to have a transformational and sustainable impact on the health of low-income populations. We work with local and global partners to catalyze sustainable healthcare models to improve healthcare access and health outcomes, and to accelerate leprosy elimination through interventions that aim to interrupt transmission. Everything we do is grounded in evidence and innovation. In 2017, the Foundation’s operational budget was CHF 15 million and our programs reached 7 million people.