Is Digital Health A Prerequisite For Achieving Universal Health Coverage?


Tuesday, November 17th 09:30 - 10:30 (Swiss time)


Digitalisation is influencing the governance and operation of health services. Indeed, digital technologies offer new opportunities and approaches to health service organization and delivery across all phases of health care, including health promotion, prevention, primary care, specialised care, long-term care, as well as patient self-management. Much of this digitalisation process will take place in the immediate future, and it is expected that the impact of digitalisation on health, health care delivery and health systems will be profound. This goes along with the belief that the new technologies will transform health services thereby contributing in a substantial way to better quality, more efficient, affordable and accessible health systems.

There is an ongoing debate among health professionals and consumers on the potential and risks of digital health. Indeed, there are a number of positive examples in low-, middle- and high income countries such as mobile health devices indicating positive results on asthma treatment, smoking cessation or adherence to treatment therapy. Simultaneously, many digital health initiatives currently lack legal as well as ethical standards including aspects relating to cross-border regulations.

As it stands, evidence on the positive impact of digital health is limited but the expectation and promise is high. Consequently, this plenary will review the current evidence for digitalisation of health services and health systems and the associated performance improvements. The promise of digital will be contrasted with its limitations, as well as the legal and ethical risks, and other concerns for health service providers and consumers.


Kaspar Wyss

Deputy Director, Swiss TPH


Riccardo Lampariello

Head of Health program, Terre des Hommes

Bernardo Mariano

Director of WHO’s Department of Digital health and Innovation, World Health Organization (WHO)

David Stewart

Associate Director, International Council of Nurses (ICN)

Maguette Thioro Ndong

Technical Advisor, Digital Health Solutions, Digital Square at Path