On 24 October 2021, The Lancet and Financial Times Commission on Governing Health Futures 2030 announced the publication of its long-awaited report during an event at the World Health Summit in Berlin.
In the report, which I co-authored, we explore the multi-faceted interactions of digital technologies and human health and well-being. We argue that digital technologies and data should be considered as increasingly important determinants of health, both in their own right and in relation to other social, commercial, and environmental determinants. As a result, we call on policy-makers to dramatically rethink what Universal Health Coverage means in in a digital age, and we urge them to govern digital transformations according to a precautionary, value-based framework rooted in established public health principles.
In practice, we propose four main action areas. First, governments must close all digital, health and education divides by 2030, as a necessary baseline for sustainable health futures. Secondly, it is vital to build public trust in the digital (health) ecosystem. This means ensuring public participation ‘by default’ in the design and governance of digital health tools, for example through open data and bottom-up accountability mechanisms. Third, we suggest a new approach to health and health-related data, rooted in the concept of data solidarity. We need independent data institutions in every country, to protect privacy while ensuring that data is easily used and shared when needed for the public good. Fourth, governments must invest in the pillars of digitally-enabled health systems, while also ensuring that digital health solutions are tailored to local contexts and needs. For example, digital public goods can be a key component of digital health strategies in many countries.
You can read the whole report here.