Innovation and Access

Global Policy Principles on Digital Health

Digital health policy principles

Digital health interventions are shaping how we respond to global health challenges and driving innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry, but stakeholders must work together to define and deliver sustainable benefits from digital health.

Digital health technologies impact every aspect of the biopharmaceutical value chain, from drug discovery to clinical development through product launch and support for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. The biopharmaceutical industry is investing in digital health to transform its work in development and commercial settings and to enhance the contributions it makes to patients and health systems around the world. To do this sustainably, the biopharmaceutical industry is committed to collaborating with other stakeholders to foster changes to policy environments that will deliver benefits from digital health solutions to patients and health systems.

Digital health encompasses a variety of terms, including e-health, m-health and telehealth, and has the potential to optimize care delivery, better inform health decisions and improve patient health outcomes. From the biopharmaceutical industry’s perspective, digital health is the convergence of advanced information and communications technologies (ICT) with public health, clinical research, diagnostics, health services delivery, education and information dissemination through secure digital channels.

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of accelerating the digitalization of health systems, as well as the need to have appropriate policies and resources that enable equitable reach of digital health benefits. However, a coordinated response is necessary to ensure that the policies that are being discussed, tested and deployed to address today’s pandemic will continue to support sustainable, patient-centric health systems in the future—health systems that are prepared to address both infectious and chronic, noncommunicable diseases.

If implemented properly, digital health can support shared goals like UHC, improve global health security by minimizing the impact of events that endanger population health, and facilitate collaboration and innovation that drives patient-centred outcomes. To seize these opportunities, health systems stakeholders, including the biopharmaceutical industry, must overcome obstacles such as lack of fit-for-purpose healthcare policies, concerns over ethical and equitable access issues, and challenges with change management and health system transformation.

The biopharmaceutical industry recommends new policies and resources to deliver sustainable benefits for all from digital health. These include to build and implement digital health strategies and ecosystems; to develop adequate infrastructure and interoperability; to implement appropriate data governance, including cross-system and cross-border data flows; to enact appropriate regulatory and reimbursement pathways; to support collaborations and partnerships; to accelerate innovative R&D frameworks; and to provide sustainable financing and incentives.

Read the Biopharmaceutical Industry Global Policy Principles on Digital Health for more detailed information about the industry’s policy principles and how we hope to work together across stakeholders.

Today’s global health challenges and priorities require innovative approaches, including digital health and data-driven solutions.  Going forward digital health can bring many benefits and opportunities, provided all health system stakeholders are able to work together effectively to overcome key challenges and barriers.

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