Presentation at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference, October 20, 2015
What are the key challenges to overcome in maternal newborn health that are amenable to digital solutions? These can be grouped into several domains. Universal knowhow: most nations now have good standards and guidelines, but current distribution efforts reach very few providers. How can the digital revolution better enable us to get the information to providers? Data as a driver of change: data on the health burden, the coverage and impact is not systematically collected, collated, analyzed, displayed and acted upon. What are the tools available now and in the future to use data more effectively? Delays worsen problems: frontline health workers need to be connected to colleagues to facilitate a networked approach to care. Providers on the frontlines are isolated and have little in way of decision making support, supervision and mentoring, so how can we best use technology to build that care network? Training, QI approaches and an enabling environments: while these are essential they are not sufficient. Providers and the healthcare system requires governance that brings all the information and actions together under a central management structure. The opportunities to exploit: widespread availability of cell phones, even smart phones. Falling prices of digital technologies such as tablet devices. Improving and widening of networks, and digital/internet access. A move towards a common platform: a very wide variety of smart applications in development e.g., Epartogram, vitals monitoring. With all of this, how do we build the digital platform that works for the neediest countries?