November 13, 2020
8. Addressing data governance
Robust health-data governance to ensure the protection, oversight, transparency and accountability of all ICT-related aspects is critical.
The availability and use of comprehensive, aggregated population data as well as patient information offers opportunities, including better decision making and prioritisation, outcome assessments, risk analysis, personalised approaches. Nevertheless, robust health-data governance to ensure the protection, oversight, transparency and accountability of all ICT-related aspects, should always remain a foremost objective of digital health solutions and put patient interests at the centre.
Whilst in some low- and middle-income settings, data privacy laws are less comprehensive, other LMICs have restrictive data privacy laws and legitimate concerns and requirements about the location of data and making it available to third parties. An assessment of the policy and regulatory environment on the ground is therefore the starting point for each context. Involving local governments and regulators must be part of this process to address potential barriers early on and ensure sustainable engagement. Restrictions on sharing digital patient information internationally may also pose difficulties for the provision of remote services across borders. While the use of anonymised data can be sufficient to develop prototypes or pilot projects, such workarounds may not work for clinical environments, where a full picture of patient history and background is required to make safe decisions and quality diagnoses or for teaching and capacity building purposes that require real-life examples.
Download the full document