Work in Progress by Olasupo Oyedepo, discussing Digital Health Governance

23 July 2019

Student: Olasupo Oyedepo – MSc in Computing by Research
Supervisor: Dr Harin Sellahewa

Olasupo Oyedepo discussing Digital Health GovernanceOlasupo Oyedepo began his work in progress seminar with the School of Computing on the 19th July by introducing the audience to the concepts of digital health, health systems, health information systems and electronic medical record systems. He referred to a resolution from the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s World Health Assembly of 2005 to establish digital health as the convergence of digital technology and health care.

While acknowledging the potential of digital technologies to optimize and enable health care delivery, Olasupo discussed that this would need to be appropriately deployed, managed and governed to ensure alignment with national policies.

Grounding his research in WHO definitions, he elucidated the four key functions of health information system as: data generation, compilation, synthesis and communication with use, these sit at the heart of all health information systems.

In discussing the role of governance for digital health, he drew from the ehealth components as detailed in the WHO-ITU National eHealth Strategy Toolkit to present the governance and leadership component as over-arching and impact all other components. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS)’s digital delivery board is listed as an example of the coordination & guidance role of governance.

He cited the digital health resolution of the WHO’s World Health Assembly in May 2018 encouraging the development of digital health strategies by member states, a policy paper from the NHS and the principles of donor alignment for digital health as some of the emerging concepts that support the need for governance in digital health implementations. He goes further to discuss these concepts as necessary to ensure digital health investments and initiatives are aligned with national policies and objectives, and sustainable.

He uses the hypothetical story from Nigeria’s digital health strategy of Fatima, a pregnant mother, and her child delivery as a contextual example of how digital health governance can enable the appropriate environment for digital technologies to support Fatima, and a health care provider, through the delivery of her child and beyond.

The Work in Progress seminar series gives postgraduate and undergraduate students an insight into the range of research projects being undertaken in the School of Computing, an opportunity to broaden their understanding of computing and identify areas of interest for further study. All are encouraged to attend.

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