Last month, world leaders gathered at the United Nations and approved a new declaration on universal health coverage, committing themselves to achieving universal access to care by 2030 and reaffirming the right to health for everyone, without distinction.
While many countries have made the important step of including the right to health in their national constitutions already, too many people around the world are still unable to access high quality and affordable care.
The American tech giant Cisco Systems recently partnered with the Southeast Asia office of ACCESS Health International to explore how policymakers can use digital technologies to deliver on their promise to provide access to quality care for all. For many countries the challenge isn’t one of intention, but rather implementation. Lifestyle changes, aging populations, and the related increases in chronic diseases mean that countries trying to achieve universal health coverage must provide an increasing amount of care with the same overall pool of resources.
In the Southeast Asia region, for example, there is a remarkable level of political commitment to universal health coverage. Yet, despite this commitment, only two ASEAN countries have achieved the goal. Digital technology offers new opportunities to overcome the challenges in achieving high quality, affordable and accessible care.
While digital technology encompasses thousands of initiatives, our research focused on three main technologies with high potential and demonstrated impact – telemedicine, health information systems, and tracking and notifications. We looked at countries in the Southeast Asian region and showed how they could bring high quality and affordable access to health for all through these technologies.
Based on our research, we developed a ten-point action plan governments can follow to leverage digital technologies to achieve universal health coverage. After reading them, I encourage you all to download the full report and share widely. Universal health coverage is attainable if we and our leaders demonstrate the commitment and make good on our actions.
Originally Published on Forbes (October 1, 2019)