Building Capacity for Geo-Enabling Health Information Systems: Supporting Equitable Health Services and Well-Being for All
Universal health coverage (UHC)—equitable access to quality health services without undue financial hardship—is the stated aim of almost every country in Asia and the Pacific. The effective management and use of geospatial data and technologies support efforts in achieving UHC. They also support the exchange and use of information by systems interoperability, especially in countries with weak registration systems. They enable countries to address health system inefficiencies and inequities, and as such improve health service delivery, planning, and management for better use of health sector resources to leave no one behind.
- Countries in Asia and the Pacific are investing in digital health for achieving universal health coverage (UHC), but they face challenges in doing so.
- Legal frameworks for data privacy and security are still nascent. Health informatics capacity needs strengthening, including understanding of health data use, health informatics standards, and of concepts such as interoperability and enterprise architecture.
- Most developing countries lack a robust land and civil registration system, which limits their ability to rely on existing registries for population groups, villages and administrative units to plan health services.
- Key issues to be addressed include understanding where the patients and the health services are; factors contributing to increased health risks for people; and how access to health services—both curative and preventive—can be improved in an expanding health care ecosystem.
- Effective management and use of geospatial data and technologies with support from the Health GeoLab Collaborative, can address the geographic aspects of pressing public health problems and improve planning of health services for UHC.