The Global Digital Health Forum (GDHF) 2023 took place from December 4–6 2023 as a hybrid event—both virtually (Asia and East Africa time zones) and in-person in Washington, D.C. GDHF is a leading networking and relationship-building opportunity to connect government stakeholders, digital health developers, health systems leaders, researchers, donors, implementers, and field experts in public health and technology from across the globe—and CHISU welcomed the opportunity to exchange lessons learned and engage in thought leadership with other attendees. More than 40 GDHF participants presented work done with CHISU’s support.
This year’s theme was “Driving Effective and Equitable Digital Health Innovation.” Digital health transformation applies technology, data, processes, and organizational change to evolve existing practices or create new ones—and this transformation is necessary to support an ecosystem for innovation. In health care, it helps expand service reach, address health care needs in near real-time, and improves quality of care. GDHF explored digital innovation within these domains and more through lightning talks, panel presentations, individual sessions, technology demos, interactive workshops, poster presentations, and other formats. Check out the GDHF agenda for more information about the different sessions.
Based on this year’s theme, CHISU shared experiences about governance, interoperability, and data use, all with a focus on equity. In particular, CHISU participants shared experiences related to the following ideas:
- HIS SOCI assessments have been a useful tool for evaluating the status of health information systems, which is critical for helping countries identify gaps and formulate their digital health strategies. Now we’re moving beyond assessments toward actually implementing these strategies and enabling systems interoperability—and are seeing signs of HIS progression within countries.
- CHISU seeks to facilitate digitally enabled decision making in helping countries reach their health systems goals. This work requires continued time and investment in order for true HIS progression to happen.
- The breadth and diversity of CHISU’s support is evident in the wide scope of topics we’re presenting at GDHF. We’ll be sharing what we’ve learned from the more than 23 countries where we work to make digital transformation a reality—because while this transformation might be announced at the highest levels of the health system, making it a reality requires tremendous effort at the primary health level.
We joined discussions that can move us from digital transformation as a catch phrase to what this means pragmatically on the ground. We heard about the impact of data use and analysis on all health system levels, and advance discussions about the value of multisectoral data analysis—which we know are critical to realizing the benefits of investments in health information systems. We also heard how others are supporting change management and analyzing incentives for all actors in the health system to support the organizational adoption of digital health innovations.
Finally, we shared our work on integrating gender into health information systems and to learn from others working to ensure that digital health reduces and does not increase the digital divide.