What does the global health industry mean by “digital health” and why it matters?

On the formation and roles of categories in the global health industry – the case of digital health

By Robert D. Smith

Throughout the past decade, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘digital health’ has seen an increase in interest and funding from a variety of actors.

The World Health Organization has a digital health strategy, many nations have national digital health strategies, a plethora of global health organizations focus exclusively or in part on digital health, The Lancet and Financial Times Commissioned a report on digital health, hundreds of companies claim to focus on digital health and raise millions in investments.

Beyond global health organizations, the private sector alone has gone from investing 1 billion USD in 2010 to 21.6 billion USD in 2020 into digital health. Each year there are hundreds to thousands of events about digital health – so many that some websites are committed to solely cataloging these events. The list could go on, and these facts could be debated as to who and what counts as digital health. However, it is clear that there is a large amount of time, money, energy, and thought being invested in digital health. In this short essay I will try to rewind a little bit and ask, what is digital health?


Photo by Anni Roenkae: Pexels

Continues here.

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