eHealth: Bridging Expectations with Reality
Cell Phones and Mobile Phones; Digital Communities and Internet Based; eLearning & e-training. These are just some of the terms in session and abstract titles at the International AIDS Conference (AIDS2012) this week. Throw in terms from LinkedIn groups like Digital Health and Health 3.0 and it’s no wonder that everyone is excited about the potential of electronic communication to improve healthcare.
But, in recent days, blogs in the Huffington Post and DevEx have highlighted the hype and challenges mHealth faces while recognizing the vast potential, a sentiment echoed loudly at IAC. At Showcasing the Potential and Role of Mobile Technology in Turning the Tide on HIV and Other Diseases, one presenter jokingly said the feeding frenzy was so bad that any consultant who has ever called their doctor about a sore throat claims to be an expert and will write a national strategy over the weekend.
Enter the 233 page WHO National eHealth strategy toolkit developed in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union that was released this week electronically.
The National eHealth Strategy Toolkit is an essential resource for developing or revitalizing a country’s eHealth strategy. It can be used equally by countries just setting out and those which have already invested significantly in eHealth. This latter group includes countries now seeking to build on promising results from pilot initiatives, to establish foundations for scaling-up eHealth projects, or to update current strategies to reflect changing economic circumstances. Whatever the starting point, experience shows that eHealth efforts can be strengthened, accelerated or aligned through a national strategic planning process.
Another great resource is K4Health’s own mHealth toolkit. The mHealth Toolkit provides knowledge management to clarify the opportunities and uncertainties of this rapidly evolving field. More than 50 organizations collaborated to select, organize, and maintain this collection of resources, which suggest promising approaches for the high potential of mHealth.
K4Health also co-chairs the mHealth Working Group which builds capacity, encourages collaboration, and shares knowledge to frame mobile technology within a larger global health strategy.
The group, which started in 2009 with 20 members in Washington, DC, is now an international community of over 700 members in 35 countries. By applying public health standards and practices to mHealth, we promote approaches that are appropriate, evidence-based, scalable, and interoperable in resource-poor settings. The goals of the mHealth Working Group are to build capacity, encourage collaboration and share knowledge. Click here to join the working group listerv and be part of the discussion.
Also, let us know if you think the reality of mHealth and eHealth will meet expectations by making a comment below.