Five strategies for your eHealth success in 2019
Closing off 2018, I am struck by how much eHealth has grown up. It’s entering 2019 as a confident, enthusiastic adolescent, emerging almost abruptly from a precocious childhood. With eHealth’s latest pseudonym “digital health” gaining traction, it’s a timely herald of a viable, lucrative and sustainable digital health industry.
If you are reading this, then securing a substantial piece of the expanding digital health pie is likely part of your organisation’s 2019 agenda. I’ve assembled five New Year’s resolutions to help:
1. There’s plenty to go around, and the spectrum of options is wide and growing, so find your niche and claim it
2. Take more time to identify and understand the needs and aspirations of your clients and stakeholders, then work with them closely to realise more health benefits
3. Use what you learn to develop a robust eHealth Impact Strategy that will provide a rudder for all your efforts through 2019 and beyond, locking onto core health benefits
4. Hire people who believe what you believe, then trust them and invest in them in line with your strategy
5. Find like-minded partners, growing your business through collaboration and cooperation, fulfilling your role as a unique member of the emerging global digital health community.
Choosing one or more of these, and succeeding, will be enough to make a big difference.
At African Centre for eHealth Excellence (Acfee) we have been monitoring the maturing eHealth landscape for more than a decade, examining the health-strengthening benefits, frustrated by the slowness of its arrival, and mindful that many critical foundation elements remained absent. Establishing the foundation more quickly has been a key focus of our work at Acfee, particularly:Developing eHealth leadershipBuilding eHealth capacityConstructing eHealth Strategies that create sustainable health impact.
Now that progress is tangible, plenty of work remains to nurture and guide the fervent eHealth teenager, so Acfee’s focus on leadership, capacity and strategies will continue, expanding our efforts to meet demands. Priorities for 2019 include to:
1. Establish the eHealth Investment Model for Africa (eHIMA) and disseminate its use across African countries to assist Ministries of Health to take good decisions about their digital health investments.
eHIMA is Acfee’s adaptation of the Digital Health Impact Framework (DHIF). The DHIF is driven by the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Development of DHIF and eHIMA have been led by Acfee’s Director of Strategy and Impact Tom Jones, providing a valuable bridge between Asian and African eHealth initiatives and challenges.
2. Expand eHealthAFRO, Acfee’s stakeholder engagement platform.
We will build on the successes of eHealthAFRO 2017 in Johannesburg and the 2018 2nd EAC Regional eHealth and Telemedicine Ministerial Conference in Kigali, both covered in eHNA. eHA2019 will be in South Africa again. Keep an eye on eHNA for details to be confirmed later this month.
3. Grow Acfee’s existing capacity building initiatives:
More support for academic programmes, such as:Rome Business School short courses on eHealth, including a DHIF short courseNew York University global public health master’s degree, which includes a collaboration with Acfee around a scholarship program to increase African participation Bespoke eHealth curriculum development for partnersAcfee’s eLearning and software development collaborations.
More support for regional capacity building, such as the role I played alongside Acfee Director Ousmane Ly, and others, on the faculty of the first ITU/WHO AFRO Digital Health Workshop in Lesotho in November 2018.
Re-launch of Acfee’s popular Future eHealth Leaders summer camps, to cultivate and advance the unique leadership skills and approaches needed for successful digital health.
“Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional” says 1960's Jamaican-American baseball player, Chili Davis. As eHealth moves into its teens, ensuring that we get it right will certainly be a collective effort. I look forward to working with each one of you, and all my African colleagues, to succeed in 2019.
- 669 views
- January 01, 2019
- Sean Broomhead
Acfee’s director supporting SIL-Asia
eHealth proponents know the importance of standards and interoperability. In Asia, it has an effective regional umbrella. The Standards and Interoperability Lab – Asia (SIL-Asia)’s powered by the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN). It has significant, sustained support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and co-sponsorship by the People's Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund (PRCF).
This substantial support has enabled SIL-Asia to provide a wide range of services to its members. Its Tooling page includes:Investing in Digital Health: Digital Health Impact Framework (DHIF)Guidance on Investing in Digital HealthDigital Health Terminology GuideTransforming Health Systems with Good Digital Health Governance: Health Governance Architecture FrameworkHealth Enterprise Architecture FrameworkSIL-Asia Cloud Set-upSIL-Asia FHIR Service.
Countries can use SIL-Asia’s tools for their digital health implementation programmes. There’s more to come, including :A technology benchmarking frameworkInteroperability toolkitImplementation guide.
SIL-Asia’s assets for countries’ use include:RxBox, a telemedicine device OpenMRSCHITS, an OpenMRS EMRBahmni,a HIS based on OpenMRSZato.io, a python based Enterprise Service BusWSO2, a Java-based, open source enterprise service busMedicCR, a Master Patient Index (MPI) developed by Mohawk LabOpenHIM, a JS-based mediator developed by Jembi Lab. OpenEMPI, a Java-based MPIOpenInfoMan, a health worker and facility registryDHIS2.
Having completed his initial work on the DHIF, Acfee’s Tom Jones has taken on the role as a SIL-Asia partner. As Acfee’s Director of Strategy and Impact, it will provide a valuable bridge between Asian and African eHealth initiatives and challenges. Acfee envisages that Africa’s health systems will benefit considerably.
- 436 views
- October 16, 2018
- Sean Broomhead
Asian Development Bank presents eHealth guidance at AeHIN conference
Weak eHealth strategies lead to weak digital health investment. Maximising success and minimizing failure’s a core ADB eHealth theme. It sees effective eHealth strategies as requirement, and it presented its Guidance for Investing in Digital Health to the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) 6th annual conference this week in Colombo, Sri Lanka
The guidance describes the healthcare context that’s needed for eHealth strategies. Peter Drury, the project lead, then set out essential issues that included identifying and engaging with stakeholders and pursuing digital health strategies that are drawn from health and healthcare strategies and that achieve a balance between value for money and affordability.
He sees strategies as only part of the process, and similar to his word association of fish and chips and bacon and egg. For eHealth, it’s strategies and investment. Sharing experiences of the two are important. There are examples of effective strategies that he’s seen across Asia available from AeHIN’s Standards and Interoperability Lab (SILA). These provide valuable insights for Africa’s health systems and for African countries contemplating new national eHealth strategies.
- 305 views
- October 15, 2018
- Sean Broomhead
Mongolia’s completing a big scale eHealth project
Remote, large and sparsely populated; Mongolia offers a lesson on pursing a wide range of eHealth investment. Tucked in between Russia and China, it’s a country of about 3.1m people spread across 1.5m km. About half the population live in Ulaanbaatar, the capital.
Dr Sereenen Enkhbold, Mongolia's eHealth Project Coordinator presented his country’s Role of E-Health Project in improving health information interoperability in Mongolia at Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) 6th annual conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The objective’s to improve integration and utilisation of health information and eHealth solutions for better health service delivery. It’s about half way through four-year the project that started in 2016.
The project, financed extensively by the World Bank incorporates:Health sector enterprise architectureHealth data and information technology standards DICOM, LOINC and HL7Health data dictionariesHIE platformHealth statistics and dashboardeHealth appsInvestments in primary healthcare facilities.
The next phase includes benefits realisation and change management. Taken together, the project is a benchmark for Africa’s health systems.
- 309 views
- October 11, 2018
- Tom Jones
Sri Lanka’s eHealth story stretches over 20 years
The reputation of Sri Lanka’s continuing eHealth story is considerable. At the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) conference in Colombo, Prof Vajira Dissanayake of the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka (HISSL) described the from1998 to 2108 and beyond.
It’s set out in Digital Health in Sri Lanka. This describes the sustainable implementation of digital health solutions through local capacity building. The lessons for Africa’s health systems are essential reading. It extends over 17 topics, including:Strategic planningPersonal health numbers and master patient indexElectronic indoor Morbidity and Mortality Register (eIMMR)Hospital Health Information Management System (HHIMS)HIMSElectronic Patient Information Management System of the National Programme for Tuberculosis and Respiratory DisordersElectronic Reproductive Health Information Management System (eRHIMS)Electronic Non Communicable Diseases System (eNCD)Registering and Verification of the Electronic Health Information SystemsSuwasariya telehealth programmeStroke Clinical RegistryEssential Drug Stock Alert Tracker Sri Lank Journal of Biomedical Informatics (SLBMI)HISSLS’s short history.
Beyond 2018, other initiatives are coming through. Partners include UNICEF and Bloomberg Philanthropies. UNICEF provided finance for the app District Nutrition Monitoring System. Children’s nutrition won the prize for the best early stage app in South Asia.
The sequence reveals a continuing strategic eHealth trajectory. Equivalents for Africa will be valuable in learning from the past and setting strategic trajectories, road maps and investment plans.
- 562 views
- October 10, 2018
- Tom Jones
Asian Development Bank presents its Digital Health Impact Framework at AeHIN conference
eHealth investment decisions usually end up by balancing value for money with affordability. It’s a regular end point for business cases for eHealth and a core ADB eHealth theme for its Digital Health Impact Framework (DHIF). It presented this and other components to the Asia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN) 6th annual conference this week in Colombo, Sri Lanka
DHIF is a methodology for estimating and analysing socio-economic costs and benefits over time to identifying value for money and how long it takes to achieve it. Then it converts these into financial and accounting estimates to assess affordability. Tom Jones, the project lead, set out these issues that included:Deriving eHealth benefit requirements for health and healthcare strategiesIdentifying and engaging with stakeholdersManaging assumptions and estimateseHealth leadership, change management and new business models.
The methodology has ten steps, but modellers and decision takers using DHIF for the time should choose only those components that are critical to the immediate decisions. From these, they can build up expertise and move towards using the full set.
Risk is a constant in eHealth investment. DHIF can be used to estimate risk exposure that leads on to risk mitigation plans.
Optimism is also common. DHIF provides adjustments for optimism bias, which can increase cost estimates with a range of lower than 40% up to 200%.
Other material from the presentation is available from AeHIN’s Standards andInteroperability Lab (SILA). They can help Africa’s health systems improve their Health decisions, especially where parallel investment is needs in healthcare resources and new business models.
- 406 views
- October 10, 2018
- Sean Broomhead
Digital Health Week (DHW) 2018 starts 7 October in Sri Lanka
A full week on eHealth’s coming up in Sri Lanka. DHW combines an array of initiatives:Commonwealth Digital Health AwardsBiennial Conference of the Asia Pacific Association for Medical Informatics (APAMI)International Medical Information Association (IMIA) Global TelehealthAsia eHealth Information Network (AeHIN).
The first day includes the AeHIN’s 6th General Assembly. Its main theme’s interoperable digital health for UHC. There’s an AeHin pre-conference event too. It includes presentations on Asian Development Bank (ADB) initiatives:Guidance for Investing in Digital HealthDigital Health Impact FrameworkCurrently in draft format and scheduled for completion in September.
Other pre-conference topics includethe Standards and Interoperability Lab for Asia (SIL-Asia) project HIE Implementation Costing ToolData science for the SDGs and UHCVarious M&E methods for national eHealth programmesDHIS2 Knowledge Exchange And Latest UpdatesGlobal public goods from the Health Data Collaborative.
The main DHW theme’s Transforming Healthcare through Digital Health Innovation. The wide range of eHealth perspectives should provide everyone with sufficient takeaways to step up sharing and convert ideas into practice.
- 474 views
- September 03, 2018
- Tom Jones
Ada Lovelace’s 19th century computer book sold at auction
The first female computer expert translated and expanded the Sketch of the Analytical Engine, published in 1843. She worked with Charles Babbage who invented the Analytical Engine, a mechanical calculator. It had four components that match modern computers. They were:Mill, the calculating unit, the equivalent of the Central Processing Unit (CPU)Store, where data was held before processingReader, an input functionPrinter, an output function.
He unveiled his machine at a seminar at University of Turin in 1840. Italian military engineer and mathematician LF Menabrea, subsequently a prime minister, reported on the presentation. Babbage encouraged Lovelace to translate it into English. She added her own, substantial explanatory notes, which more than doubled the length of Menabrea's article and included an Analytic Engine’s algorithm.
A report in the Antiques Trade Gazette say the book sold for auction in England for £95,000 (US$124,000). It’s one of seven known copies. It’s significant because she was the first person to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and published the first algorithm. She’s referred to as the Countess of Computing, reflecting her social standing and formal, title of Lady Lovelace, and the World’s First Computer Programmer, recognising her pioneering role in computer programming. When it was published, she was not credited as author. In 1848, she was, four years before her death, aged 36.
Her father was the poet Lord Byron. Her mother, Lady Byron, was educated in science and mathematics. It may be that inherited traits such as creativity and analysis combined in Ada Lovelace with a resultant impact on computer science and creation of the Ada Lovelace Institute.
How much will these abilities reflected in manuals of modern algorithms sell for in about 180 years from now? Presumably they’ll be in an eBook.
- 286 views
- July 26, 2018
- Tom Jones
eHealth for SDG promoted at East African Ministerial Conference
Kigali, Rwanda has been a magnanimous host to eHealth events, this Autumn. Following on from last week’s EAC Regional eHealth and Telemedicine Workshop, the 2nd EAC Regional eHealth and Telemedicine Ministerial Conference was Thursday 17 April. The Ministerial Conference considered the report and recommendations of the workshop, under the theme “harnessing science, technology and innovation to transform healthcare delivery and accelerate the attainment of sustainable development goals in East Africa". It’s yet another high level African meeting exploring the role of eHealth in helping us to achieve universal health coverage, hosted by the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO).
“Discuss how technology can be used to enhance healthcare delivery” was a challenge posed by Rt Hon Dr Ali H Kirunda Kivejinja, Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, to conference delegates, in his opening remarks. He emphasised the importance of cooperation to secure the technologies’ “ultimate goal of improving standards of living and increasing life expectancy of East Africans”.
Clear directives were provided on the way forward. The Ministerial Conference: The 2nd EAC Regional e-Health and Telemedicine Ministerial Conference:"Urged the EAC Partner States that do not have a National e-Health Strategy develop it in line with the WHO - ITU National e-Health Strategy Toolkit [to develop one] by 2020;Directed EASTECO to conduct an EAC regional e-Health readiness assessment incorporating aspects of systems interoperability, costs and benefits of investing in e-Health by 30th December 2019 in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, East African Health Research Commission, Partner States’ National Science and Technology Commissions/Councils and Partners;Directed EASTECO to promote incubation of local digital health solutions in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat and the Partner States’ Ministries and Agencies responsible for ICT, Science, Technology and Innovation and submit progress reports to relevant Sectoral Councils and the Council of Ministers every two years;Urged the Sectoral Council on Health to coordinate the development of regional policies, laws, regulations, guidelines, standards, on health facility/patient safety, data sharing, data security and privacy to facilitate e-health enabled in country and cross border patient referrals within the EAC Partner States by 30th June 2020 directed the EAC Regional Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Engineering and eHealth to conduct a study in the application of eLearning systems for training Health Professional in the Region and IUCEA to develop a regional framework to enhance regional and south-south collaboration in capacity building for e-Health by Jan 2020;Directed EASTECO to take leadership in convening the EAC regional e-health and telemedicine workshops, ministerial conferences and international exhibitions every two years on a rotational basis among the Partner States in last week of October as part of the meetings of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for Health in collaboration with the EAC Secretariat, the EAHRC and the EAC Regional Center for Excellence for Biomedical Engineering and e-Health; andApproved hosting of the 3rd EAC regional e-health and telemedicine workshops, ministerial conferences and international exhibitions by the Republic of Uganda from 28th to 30th October 2020 as approved by the 16th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health."
Collaboration and cooperation for eHealth for impact is a growing theme in African regional communities. Congratulations to the organising team and it’s tireless leader, Ms Gertrude Ngabirano Executive Secretary, EASTECO. It is a timely theme for eHealth to realise its potential and its critical role I supporting UHC.
Photo – Ministerial Panel Picture, from left to right: Dr. Rashid Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Republic of Kenya; Hon. Ken. Obura, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of East African Community and Norther Corridor Development, Republic of Kenya; Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali H. Kirunda Kivejinja, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of EAC Council of Ministers; Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi, State Minister for Health - General Duties, Republic of Uganda; Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health in charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Republic of Rwanda; Mr. Toritoi Ngosayon Bunto, Ag. High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania in Rwanda; representing Hon. Dr. Ummy Ally Mwalimu, Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Seniors and Children in URT.
Photo - Ms. Gertrude Ngabirano, Executive Secretary of EASTECO
Cover photo – Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali H. Kirunda Kivejinja, Second Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for EAC Affairs, Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of EAC Council of Ministers giving remarks
- 536 views
- May 23, 2018
- Sean Broomhead
African Alliance of Digital Health Networks to rally support for African countries
“We want to go far” said Olasupo Oyedepo, Tuesday, announcing the launch of the African Alliance of Digital Health Networks on LinkedIn. Olasupo is Project Director at ICT4HEALTH Project and Director of the new Alliance. He is a bold man with a bold vision of renewal, to:Connect the eHealth and digital health networks emerging in AfricaExpand the platform of support for African countries and their eHealth initiatives.
The launch was at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda on 8 May 2018. The Alliance was first conceptualised at the 2016 Global Digital Health Forum that took place in Maryland, USA. A key aim's to ensure that African countries have the support and resources needed to develop strong eHealth “helping to grow a cadre of digital health leaders and entrepreneurs in Africa”. Its programmes will focus on digital health leadership, entrepreneurship, mentorship and peer learning. The leadership and capacity development emphasis is well matched with Acfee's priorities.
Our African countries’ eHealth expertise and initiatives are growing fast, and beginning to contribute to health systems strengthening. Growth will continue and the additional resources and support that initiatives such as the Alliance may bring will accelerate these efforts. Acfee congratulates Olasupo and the new Alliance and looks forward to learning soon about its programmes and how collaboration plans to make a rapid and significant impact on Africa's eHealth, so the Alliance can go far and fast.
Photo from launch, left to right:Gaelle GisubizoDykki Settle – PATHCaren Althauser – PATHHuguette Diakabana – Deputy Director, African AllianceOlasupo Oyedepo – Director, African AllianceBen Aliwa – PATH
- 517 views
- May 10, 2018
- Sean Broomhead
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