IGF 2022 WS #452 Reducing Disparate Outcomes with Digital Health Tools

Time
Friday, 2nd December, 2022 (07:45 UTC) - Friday, 2nd December, 2022 (08:45 UTC)
Room
Caucus Room 11

Organizer 1: Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: GEORGINA IVA SAKIMI NAIGULEVU, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Sveatoslov Vizitiu, Technical Community, Eastern European Group
Speaker 3: Jelena Malinina, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Analia Baum, Government, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 5: Subbarao Kambhampati, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Format

Round Table - Circle - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. Has digital health risen to the challenge of expanding quality care during the pandemic? 2. What is the best way to bridge the digital divide that not only separates rural areas from urban, but the global south and developing nations from the rest of the world in terms of access to digital health? 3. How can policymakers ensure that patients retain strong privacy and security assurances as the provision of some healthcare moves from in-person to online?

Connection with previous Messages:

SDGs

1. No Poverty
3. Good Health and Well-Being
5. Gender Equality
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: While clearly beneficial in the context of a pandemic, digital technologies offer great potential outside of social-distancing mandates, as they can provide patients with greater control and personalization in their treatment. These benefits could reduce global health inequities and improve the quality of life, especially for the traditionally underserved. However, these technologies also bring no shortage of challenges. Those most in need of connected healthcare are the ones who are least able to access it. Impediments include lack of smartphone access and internet coverage in rural areas, as well as regulatory barriers stemming from legacy approaches to healthcare. Greater provision of healthcare over the internet also enhances the opportunity for cyberattacks and can create new privacy risks.

Description:

It’s no secret that healthcare outcomes are often extremely unbalanced. Whereas educated, urban, broadband-connected and higher-income people typically have greater access to high-quality healthcare and resources, rural, lower-income, less educated and populations of color struggle to access quality care—and health outcomes are significantly worse than those found in the first group. This dynamic plays out on both on global (global north versus global south) and domestic scales. Yet when the COVID-19 crisis catalyzed rapid change in a number of sectors worldwide, an opportunity arose in the connected healthcare industry as well. As much of the world moved to severely curtail travel and cautioned against non-essential healthcare visits, providers adopted telehealth and remote monitoring in large numbers in order to provide patients with alternate means of accessing care during a very challenging time. While clearly beneficial in the context of a pandemic, these technologies offer great potential outside of social-distancing mandates, as they can provide patients with greater control and personalization in their treatment and could become even more beneficial with the continued advancement of certain promising AI technologies. However, these technologies also bring no shortage of challenges. Those most in need of connected healthcare are the ones who are least able to access it. Impediments include lack of smartphone access and internet coverage in rural areas, as well as regulatory barriers stemming from legacy approaches to healthcare. Greater provision of healthcare over the internet also enhances the opportunity for cyberattacks and can create new privacy risks. Now with more than two years of data to draw conclusions from, how have these technologies fared? Have they helped to even the playing field and make higher-quality care available to more people? Is it even possible to assess their effectiveness given the confounding variable of a global pandemic? Are any such advances likely to sustain themselves beyond the pandemic? This panel will evaluate the extent to which digital health tools deployed during the current crisis have improved the world's response to health disparities in geographies, communities, and demographics. The panel will also assess where those tools have fallen short and how to improve outcomes and mitigate risks going forward.

Expected Outcomes

1. Understand the spectrum of opportunities and challenges that telehealth brings to communities, and how those opportunities and challenges are mediated by socio-economic factors. 2. Evaluate the empirical evidence concerning the provision of telehealth during the pandemic. 3. Learn about what the IGF community can do to further action and cross-sector collaboration to realize the potential and work through challenges surfaced in the conversation. 4. Share diverse perspectives regarding the discrete priorities and/or changes needed from the IGF community to combat these challenges and harness opportunities.

Hybrid Format: i. For each of the areas of interest, introductory short presentations/remarks by experts will provide basic knowledge and discuss important trade-offs. The moderator will ensure the active participation of the audience, who will be able to intervene and ask questions to the experts. Sufficient time will be given to online participants to ask questions, by the online participator. Following these initial interventions, the roundtable will get to the heart of the debate, guided by the moderator who will begin by giving an opportunity to online and in-person participants to pose questions and discuss views on the strategies presented. The moderator will guide the debate with the goal of finding common ground between views brought forward. In addition to the background documents and papers that will be prepared ahead of the IGF, additional articles of interest, reference materials and social media conversations will be published and distributed ahead of the workshop. The moderator and organizing team will work with speakers in advance as to ensure the quality and the content of the discussion.

Online Participation

 

Usage of IGF Official Tool.