Many thanks to everyone who shared their ideas and experiences in scaling up telehealth services to promote equitable access to essential health services.
Special thanks to our moderators Belynda Amankwa, Claudia Olmedo, Kenechukwu Esom, Kate Sutton and Amitrajit Saha for their time and commitment in keeping the discussion moving and for providing the weekly summaries!
After 5 weeks the discussion has now closed. Over the next few weeks, we'll be pulling from your inputs to prepare a draft report which will be used to prepare a service offer on telehealth. Watch this space!
Sending you our best,
Les Ong, Nithima Ducrocq, Calum Handforth, Ian Mungall, Andrea Nannipieri
The organizing team
Welcome to this e-discussion on Telehealth!
Thank you to those who have contributed to the e-discussion on “Scaling up telehealth to promote equitable access to essential health services” so far, which has been very insightful and substantive.
Given the strong interest and opportunity for further exploration on a number of issues you have raised, we have decided to extend the e-discussion for another week, up until 24 September 2021. In particular, we are keen for participation from:
- Local and national government stakeholders; and
- Civil society representatives working on these issues.
The discussion has highlighted several important areas (see below). With this in mind, we would also be keen to hear from perspectives and experiences relevant to telehealth policy and regulation, sustainability models, behaviour change, shaping public-private partnerships, and scaling-up solutions.
We would like to encourage your continued engagement for another week, and your help in sharing this invitation to your partners and colleagues from across the telehealth ecosystem.
Sending you our best,
The organizing team
The e-discussion so far has touched on a broad range of issues relating to the introduction and scale up of telehealth, with many examples from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, and from a broad range of perspectives, including government stakeholders, health providers, technical experts and digital developers.
The discussion emphasized the importance of national guidelines, governance frameworks and regulations in ensuring effective implementation of telehealth, adherence to quality and ethical standards of clinical practice, and stringent data governance.
The discussion also touched on the various programmatic approaches, partnerships and business models that promote affordability and financial sustainability of telehealth services. The principle of rights-based and ethical approaches to telehealth is central to equitable and sustainable implementation, particularly in relation to strong data governance, security and use; as well as the accessibility of digital technologies among marginalized communities.
Improving digital literacy and capacity, as well as promoting behaviour change of the health workforce, will promote the broad acceptance and ensure successful implementation and sustainability of telehealth solutions. The discussion also elucidated the role that UNDP and other development and technical partners can play in facilitating ‘digital public goods’ and in providing policy and programmatic support to promote telehealth.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed health systems under significant strain over the past 18 months, highlighting the importance of innovative models of healthcare that can help link health services to individuals, particularly those who face geographical, physical, or cultural barriers to healthcare. Telehealth is one such solution that enables the remote delivery of quality, cost-effective and essential health services, thus contributing to health system resilience and universal health coverage. Read more.
To inform the e-discussion, this draft background paper provides an overview of how telehealth promotes equitable access to essential health services, and the key policy, programmatic and strategic drivers for successful implementation in lower-middle income countries.
This e-discussion is part of a series of knowledge exchange activities convened by UNDP, through a collaboration between the Access and Delivery Partnership, the Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development, and the Chief Digital Office.
The e-discussion aims to improve the understanding of relevant policy, institutional and programmatic challenges related to telehealth, and explore solutions and opportunities to promote the use of telehealth as an innovative approach to improve access to health services. The e-discussion will achieve this by providing the opportunity to:
- Document, share, and consolidate country experiences, lessons, and good practices in the planning and implementation of telehealth services;
- Improve awareness, understanding, and knowledge among decision-makers within government agencies and UNDP on the potential of telehealth in promoting equitable delivery of health services;
- Map the scope of UNDP’s technical expertise, experience, and resources relating to the introduction and scale-up of telehealth services, and identify UNDP’s unique value proposition, strategic approach, and collective service offer on telehealth.
Participants are encouraged to share their experiences in introducing and scaling up telehealth services to promote equitable access to essential health services, particularly in addressing challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This e-discussion is organized into 2 discussion rooms, with guiding questions centered around the two thematic areas. You can respond to one or more of the questions in each room, and start with a room in no particular order: Room 1: Country experience in implementing telehealth services and Room 2: Key principles, policies, and strategies in promoting telehealth.
This e-discussion is a public discussion open UNDP staff and external partners from government, health providers, academics, innovators, donors, and development partners. Read more.
The e-discussion will enhance understanding among policymakers, programme managers, and UNDP personnel on the effectiveness of telehealth in promoting equitable access to essential health services, and the key policy and programmatic elements necessary for effective implementation. The identified country needs and priorities will help in defining the UNDP value proposition and strategic approach in supporting countries to introduce and scale-up telehealth services.
📧 Contact us
- Leslie Ong, Programme Specialist, HIV, Health and Development Team, UNDP (email@example.com)
- Any questions about this e-discussion and SparkBlue can be shared with Andrea Nannipieri, Facilitator, Community of Practice (CoP) on HIV and Health (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Nadine Ravaud, Facilitator, CoP on SDG Integration, UNDP (email@example.com)