Executive Summary of Digital Healthcare White Paper
Across ASEAN, rising demand for healthcare and increasing healthcare costs have led to significant concerns and an urgent need for action. In response to these growing healthcare needs, all ten countries in ASEAN have committed to the achievement of universal health coverage. In 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Agenda called for a global commitment to universal health coverage.
Despite strong commitment and action, universal health coverage is difficult to achieve and sustain. Universal health coverage challenges the reality that trade-offs must always be made between quality, affordability, and access. To highlight these issues in more depth, ACCESS Health International and Cisco Systems have developed a white paper to discuss these trade-offs and offer countries a potential solution to the policy conundrum – enabling the digitization of health systems to assist in achieving universal health coverage. The paper outlines ten key actions that countries must undertake to ensure that the potential of digital technology is fully realized on the ground. Effectively harnessed, digital technology can overcome many of the trade-offs that come from using traditional health solutions.
On 23 September 2019, the United Nations members adopted a high-level political declaration on health coverage for all, signifying the “the most comprehensive agreement ever reached on global health”. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres affirmed that this significant achievement will drive progress for the next decade. This is an opportunity for ASEAN countries to showcase their commitment and progress towards the achievement of universal health coverage. It is also an opportunity for the region to show leadership, calling for the digital transformation of healthcare systems to achieve universal health coverage. ASEAN countries can lead by example, by focusing the digital health agenda first on primary health care, investing in a robust ICT foundation, and enabling a true multi-sectoral and participatory approach.