• Watch a video on how mobile phones were used to save lives during the 2014 Ebola response.

    Learn More
  • Athalia Mukamusoni is one of 45,000 Rwandan community health workers who uses the RapidSMS platform. Learn how this digital health platform strengthens the national health system.

    Learn More
  • Find out how open mapping is helping deliver medical supplies in Tanzania.

    Learn More

Speeches Shim

What Is Digital Health?

Digital health, as defined by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, is an umbrella term that encompasses all concepts and activities at the intersection of health and information and communications technologies (ICTs). This includes the delivery of health information, using ICTs to improve public health services, and using health information systems to capture, store, manage or transmit information on patient health or health facility activities.

Digital Health Matters

A secure, connected and digitized health system can better deliver life-saving medicines where they’re most needed and ensure children are vaccinated on schedule and that crucial public health data is available in real time to key decision-makers.

USAID is working to support and invest in sustainable, scalable, interoperable, standards-based digital health tools and technologies that provide timely and accurate data for sustaining strong health systems.

“I think it is about time we find a way the health workers can communicate directly to us. A health worker may have some burning issues to share, but we may [be] missing his or her concerns.”

– Stephen Gbanyan, director of health management information systems in the Liberia Ministry of Health on mHero.

Numbers at a Glance

Graphic of a cell phone, reading: 8.4 Billion

There are more than 8.4 billion mobile connections in the world.
(Source: GMSA Intelligence)

Graphic of sub-Saharan Africa, reading: 10%

Sub-Saharan Africa is nearly 10% of the global mobile subscriber base and expected to grow faster than anywhere else in the next 5 yrs.
(Source: GSMA Intelligence)

Graphic of the world, reading: 69 Countries

As of 2015, there are 69 countries that are developing or have developed national e-health or digital health strategies.
(Source: WHO)

Digital Health Collaborations & Initiatives

  • Digital Square is a collaborative, co-investment partnership across more than 30 organizations and countries, including USAID, to develop re-usable digital health technology solutions and provide technical support to countries.
  • The Digital REACH Initiative aims to create a robust enabling environment for digital health, including supportive leadership and governance, strategic investments, knowledgeable health workforce, harmonized regulations, policy and standards and interoperability. Through the Initiative, the East Africa Digital Health Initiative Roadmap [PDF, 260KB] provides a detailed view of the Initiative’s vision, mission and outcome goals
  • The Regional Action through Data [PDF, 483KB] project is working to improve health outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa by disrupting current models of health care, changing how and why data/information is collected, analyzed and then used to achieve results.
  • Global Digital Health Network is a networking forum with 3,000+ members across 108 countries that share information, engage with the broader community, and provide leadership in digital health for global public health

Reports & Resources