The COVID-19 pandemic made us realize that digital health intervention is an imperative component of health systems and not just an add-on value to optimize investments in the health sector. Governments at all levels (local, subnational, and national) turn to digital technologies to address the pandemic’s effects and prevent further transmission. These digital health interventions manifest in pandemic response efforts such as disease surveillance, testing, contact tracing, quarantine management, and clinical care.
With the risk that comes with face-to-face interactions, telemedicine/telehealth emerges as a crucial solution in minimizing risk for both patients and healthcare providers by enabling remote and real-time healthcare service delivery. Today, more than ever, digital technology disrupts not just geographical barriers that limit healthcare access but also unprecedented barriers brought about by an evolving pandemic and society’s ‘new normal.’
Health systems at the national level will succumb to the perils of COVID-19 without digital technologies that can scale-up pandemic management response. Data and information from these digital health implementations are crucial in directing decisions for border restrictions, quarantine timelines, resource prioritization, and overall pandemic response strategy. That’s why it is critical for the national pandemic response to be inclusive of all members of the populace, ensuring that no groups are left behind in the name of digitalization.