Contextualising Digital Health Contributions to Fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed numerous changes worldwide in healthcare systems and service delivery practices, many relying on biomedical technologies including digital health. The rapid development and widespread adoption of these changes has led to many being reported on extensively in grey literature and public media, but not yet in the conventional scientific peer reviewed literature. In particular, digital health contributions have received much attention but the main topics of reporting have been prominent public perception issues, with technical aspects being largely ignored. This perspective paper therefore responds to the need for a systematic contextualisation framework to describe digital health contributions to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. The framework recommends four focus areas or “dimensions” for contextual settings: clinical processes, health system, stakeholder and technology. Two examples are used to motivate these dimensions: mobile phone tracking, and telehealth consultations. It is suggested that use of the framework in presenting digital health innovations more broadly and in context using these example cases, will convey a more informative understanding of the nature of such contributions now and in the post-COVID-19 period.
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