Just Released: State of Digital Health 2019

We’re thrilled to announce the inaugural State of Digital Health report, which provides the first ever snapshot of digital health ecosystems throughout the world and lays the foundation for better informed and coordinated investments in digital health.

The report presents data collected from the 22 countries across 6 regions that participate in the Global Digital Health Index (GDHI), analyzes regional trends, and sets benchmarks to consider when charting future growth. It also contextualizes the findings in relation to digital health milestones and other global trends analyses.

This inaugural report serves as a call to action to governments and health practitioners worldwide, urging them to commit to improving the data on existing digital health ecosystems, which will in turn provide clear paths for improving them. Countries interested in participating in the Index can reach out to GDHI at info@digitalhealthindex.org.

Download full report >>

Global Digital Health Index launches alongside World Health Assembly

Index to track, monitor, and evaluate the use of digital technology for health across countries

May 22, 2018 – Geneva, Switzerland – A global group of leaders at the World Health Assembly today launched the Global Digital Health Index (GDHI), an interactive digital resource that tracks, monitors, and evaluates the use of digital technology for health across countries. The GDHI will empower health ministries, funders, policy makers, and industry players to make informed strategic decisions as they build sustainable digital health solutions at scale.

“To achieve universal health coverage over the next decade, coherent use of digital health will be key. The Index will be a valuable tool at national level to know where to focus efforts, and to allow comparison with other countries that have faced similar challenges,” said Dr. Peter Benjamin, Co-Founder at HealthEnabled, a digital health nonprofit that co-facilitates the GDHI with the Global Development Incubator (GDI), an organization that builds social impact startups and partnerships.

Technologies such as mobile phones, tablets, remote patient monitoring devices, and sensors have the potential to save lives, extend the reach of healthcare services, and reduce healthcare costs – yet many countries face persistent challenges in integrating these technologies into their health systems at scale. By benchmarking countries against standardized digital health criteria, the GDHI will allow them to track progress and identify weaknesses within their digital health initiatives so they can mature their digital health policy and practice over time. The GDHI will motivate improvements in national digital health systems and more targeted investments globally, ultimately using digital health to accelerate and monitor the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3, “Ensure healthy lives and wellbeing for all at all ages.”

“Digital technologies have reached a level of maturity where, if properly deployed, they can transform healthcare and build sustainable digital health systems as a common good for all,” said Dr. Vajira H. W. Dissanayake, President of the Commonwealth Medical Association and Chairman of the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health. “As the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health collaborates closely with countries to help them strengthen their health systems through the deployment of digital technologies, the Global Digital Health Index will be an invaluable tool to help us identify countries’ needs and provide support to address them.

” The GDHI steering committee includes a broad range of government, private sector, academic, NGO, and other top institutions and individuals in digital health. The group includes representatives from the Ministries of Health of India, Mali, and Thailand, as well as from Royal Philips, Commonwealth Medical Association, PATH, Asia e-Health Network, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Health Organization, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), Johnson & Johnson, the International Development and Research Centre (IDRC), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Joanne Peter, Health Tech Lead for Global Community Impact at Johnson & Johnson, noted, “Johnson & Johnson is proud to be an early supporter of the Global Digital Health Index, a tool to help countries around the world move towards mature digital health systems that are more efficient, more responsive to data and trends, and more patient-centered. We believe that digital technologies are an essential enabler as we work collectively to change the trajectory of health for humanity.”

The GDHI’s development began in 2016, when HealthEnabled and GDI partnered with Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG), ThoughtWorks, and representatives from 20+ countries and 50+ international agencies to ideate on a tool that could help countries benchmark and monitor their investments in digital health over time. Using the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) eHealth Strategy Toolkit, the GDHI took shape. Since its beginning, the GDHI has received financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Royal Philips, and HIMSS.

“By measuring the impact of digital tools and technologies, we can help increase levels of understanding, collaboration and adoption of value based care strategies,” said Jan Kimpen, Chief Medical Officer at Royal Philips. “This means working towards better healthcare experience and outcomes, achieved at lower cost. Royal Philips launched its Future Health Index three years ago to help benchmark and evaluate the impact of connected care, and we welcome the launch of the Global Digital Health Index as a complementary platform to support more patient centric and sustainable global healthcare.”

The GDHI version one that launched today includes data from 10 countries including Bangladesh, Benin, Jordan, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Dr. Ousmane Ly, CEO of the National Agency for Telehealth and Medical Informatics of Mali, commented: “The Index is a fantastic opportunity for countries to assess the progress made and understand what steps they must take to ensure digital health provides all citizens with quality care. Mali will use the Index as a permanent monitoring tool for its national digital health program.

” Dr. Robyn Whittaker, Associate Professor University of Auckland & Clinical Director Innovation Waitemata District Health Board, participated in the initial workshop to design the Index. She commented, “The Index comes at a great time for New Zealand, as the Ministry of Health has been working on our digital health strategy. While New Zealand has been doing really well on some fronts, the Index helps us to take a comprehensive look across the range of indicators and identify areas where we might be falling behind, in addition to helping us measure our overall progress.

” Countries looking to learn more about their digital health maturity, how it compares to other countries, and how they can improve it are encouraged to reach out to info@digitalhealthindex.org to contribute data.

Media contact​: For media inquiries, contact communications@globaldevincubator.org.

About HealthEnabled​: HealthEnabled is an Africa-based organization that helps governments integrate proven life-saving digital health interventions into their health systems. Learn more at www.healthenabled.org.

About the Global Development Incubator (GDI):​ GDI is an organization that builds startups, incubates partnerships, and strengthens existing organizations for social impact around the world. Learn more at www.globaldevincubator.org.

Faster to Zero will use digital health tools to accelerate the end of mother-to-child transmission of HIV

10 November 2015 – HealthEnabled and Knowledge for Health (K4Health) are proud to announce  “Faster to Zero,” a new initiative that will use digital health tools to accelerate the end of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in two countries. Launched along with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID, and Johnson & Johnson, Faster to Zero is being implemented in South Africa as well as in another country to be determined. A public-private partnership supported through matched funding from PEPFAR and Johnson & Johnson, Faster to Zero uses proven digital health tools to strengthen programmes to identify HIV-positive pregnant women, start treatment for those who test positive, and ensure their babies test HIV-negative at age one. By using real numbers to guide treatment, rather than estimates, data from these digital health tools will ensure women are receiving the right services at the right time – altogether helping the most at-risk populations become AIDS-free faster.

While significant progress has been made in South Africa to reduce the country’s mother-to-child HIV transmission rate down to 2.6%, more progress can be made. Faster to Zero is working closely with South Africa’s Department of Health to harness digital technologies to effectively eliminate HIV transmission from mothers to babies, aiming to prevent over 7 800 new infections each year.

“PEPFAR remains committed to the Global Plan towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive. Technology-based solutions will accelerate our efforts to work more efficiently and effectively to do the right things, in the right places, right now, in the right way,” says Lisa Nelson, Deputy Coordinator for Program Quality from the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy.

Getting to zero will require collaboration with digital health efforts already underway, including MomConnect in South Africa, a groundbreaking, national government programme that started in 2014 and uses mobile phones to register pregnant women, send them weekly health messages, and collect their feedback on the quality of health services. In its first year of operation, MomConnect registered over 500 000 women, or approximately one woman every minute, with high potential for reaching those pregnant women who are HIV-positive.

“Through MomConnect we can reach high-risk mothers with targeted messages about EMTCT. Identifying these mothers is key, and we can expand the MomConnect registration system to gather the necessary data to find out which mothers need the most support,” says Peter Barron, Technical Advisor to the South African Department of Health.

“We now know which mothers are most likely to drop out of the PMTCT programme: those who are young, who are pregnant for the first time, who don’t visit the clinic early or who haven’t disclosed their HIV status are at higher risk. We can use the expanded MomConnect system to identify these women and help them access PMTCT and stay on it,” says Peter Benjamin, HealthEnabled Country Director.

Using this approach in South Africa and elsewhere, Faster to Zero will assess the situation and select promising digital health tools to use among the most at-risk populations to support the continuum of care from identification of HIV-positive women to an HIV-negative test for their children at age one.

“Digital health solutions offer tremendous promise to help end mother to child transmission, but only if efforts are coordinated,” says Dr. Tara Sullivan, Director of K4Health. “By bringing coherence to the existing digital landscape, and aligning these efforts within a country context, Faster to Zero will ultimately improve the coverage, quality and capacity of EMTCT programs.”

Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé commented that an AIDS-free generation is not only feasible but also likely to come soon: “The world went from millions to billions and each dollar invested today is producing a US$ 17 return,” he said. “If we frontload investments and fast-track our efforts over the next five years, we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”

Many countries have made significant progress in reducing the number of new infections, but to truly eliminate the epidemic, they must register and track those who are HIV-positive. Technology has advanced sufficiently so that with additional facilitation support, digital health tools can break through fragmentation to identify and track HIV-positive women, guide safe delivery of their babies, and follow up with them to ensure children are HIV-negative at their first birthday.

Faster to Zero aims to bring together the necessary partners and experts — from promising digital health tools like MomConnect, to funders and governments — to sustain these efforts in the long run and ensure this continuum of care can truly make that AIDS-free generation a reality.

Dr Joanne Peter, Advisor to Johnson & Johnson commented, “The promise of technology lies in its ability to connect mothers, communities, health workers, and the broader health system. At Johnson & Johnson, we hope to support HIV-positive mothers and retain them in care by using digital tools to enable more coordinated, efficient, and patient-centred health services.”

About HealthEnabled

HealthEnabled is dedicated to modernizing national health systems through the use of evidence-based technology interventions. HealthEnabled partners with national governments to develop and operationalize their digital health strategies and aggregate global data to evaluate the state of digital health worldwide.  HealthEnabled works at the country level by: 1) supporting relevant policy development for digital health integration and acceleration, 2) building coalitions for effective and efficient digital health, 3) ensuring implementation through appropriate resource allocation and design of accountability frameworks, and 4) creating mechanisms for long-term capacity. Learn more at www.healthenabled.org.


About Knowledge for Health

The Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project is the flagship knowledge management project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Global Health, Office of Population and Reproductive Health.  K4Health envisions a social knowledge sharing revolution, in which health program managers and service providers at all levels around the world collaborate with and learn from each other, and adapt and use actionable family planning and global health knowledge to build stronger health systems and enable people to live healthier lives.​ Our mission is to improve health services in low- and middle-income countries. K4Health is implemented by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP), FHI 360, IntraHealth International, and Management Sciences for Health (MSH), in collaboration with a host of partners around the world. Learn more at www.k4health.org.


For more information please contact:

Dr Peter Benjamin
South Africa, Country Director
+27 82 829 3353
skype: peterbenjamin

Dr Olivia Velez
Executive Director
+01 (646) 685 7351
skype: olivia_velez

James BonTempo

Director of ICT & Innovation
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Center for Communication Programs
+1 410-659-6124