Giving Compass’ Take:
• Eric Stephan explains how digital health apps have demonstrated their growing value during the coronavirus pandemic.
• How can we ensure equitable access to health apps across communities? What are you doing to support the availability and utility of health apps during coronavirus?
While people have turned to smartphones for entertainment, socializing and commerce, the health community is still working to make services, outreach and treatment digitally accessible. Examining successful applications allows us to understand what approaches might be possible for digital health services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more crucial than ever that digital health resources provide support for people to access from their homes.
In Asia, new digital health applications are showing promise. One area that has been eager to go online is HIV programming, because it is already heavily invested in outreach to at-risk groups. For outreach strategists, bringing people into HIV testing facilities is always difficult. But, when people shift social activities online, it becomes even harder to reach them with services. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this.
Private pharmacists are a potential, valuable resource for new health services for large populations. The SwipeRX application was created by Singapore-based mClinica, a partner to FHI 360 in efforts to leverage pharmacists in scaling HIV services. mClinica is a flexible social media platform that has connected a community of more than 150,000 pharmacists throughout Southeast Asia, providing them with professional development, case referral, drug reaction reporting functions and more. Its networks can also serve research and survey efforts, giving programs a promising way to hone strategies.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, online services have risen from welcome innovation to critical linchpin, as lockdowns and social distancing block traditional service methods and digital tools fill the gap. While many people may yearn for a return to in-person interaction, there is no doubt that lives will be saved by the ability to maintain health services online during times of viral outbreak.
Read the full article about health apps by Eric Stephan at Degrees.
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