The Lancet and Financial Times Commission on governing health futures 2030: growing up in a digital world

23 December, 2021

The "Lancet and Financial Times Commission on governing health futures 2030: growing up in a digital world"

The rate of Data and communication technology within health service provision has has been accelerated by Covid19, just as say, women’s role in the responsible work roles was accelerated by the first and second world wars?

Here is an executive summary of the "Lancet and Financial Times Commission on governing health futures 2030: growing up in a digital world"

"From the short-term and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to the health insecurities brought about by climate change, health futures are unfolding in an era of accelerating economic, societal, technological, and environmental changes. Digital transformations, which we define as the multifaceted processes of integration of digital technologies and platforms into all areas of life, including health, are central to understanding — and shaping — many of these disruptive dynamics.

"Four action areas for sustainable health futures

"The governance of digital technologies in health and health care must be driven by public purpose, not private profit. Its primary goals should be to address the power asymmetries reinforced by digital transformations, increase public trust in the digital health ecosystem, and ensure that the opportunities offered by digital technologies and data are harnessed in support of the missions of public health and UHC.

"To achieve these goals, we propose four action areas that we consider game-changers for shaping health futures in a digital world.

"First, we suggest that decision makers, health professionals, and researchers consider — and address — digital technologies as increasingly important determinants of health.

"Second, we emphasize the need to build a governance architecture that creates trust in digital health by enfranchising patients and vulnerable groups, ensuring health and digital rights, and regulating powerful players in the digital health ecosystem.

"Third, we call for a new approach to the collection and use of health data based on the concept of data solidarity, with the aim of simultaneously protecting individual rights, promoting the public good potential of such data, and building a culture of data justice and equity.

"Fourth and finally, we urge decision makers to invest in the enablers of digitally transformed health systems, a task that will require strong country ownership of digital health strategies and clear investment roadmaps that help prioritize those technologies that are most needed at different levels of digital health maturity.

"Moreover, reimagining public health and UHC in the light of digital transformations will also mean rethinking the breadth of health services that are offered in health systems and included in the publicly financed UHC package, to better reflect those new dimensions of health and wellbeing that are directly dependent on digital technologies and their role as new determinants of health.

"Putting children and young people at the centre

"To ensure that everyone benefits from digital transformations of health and health care, there is an urgent need to orient digital health priorities towards the establishment of strong health and wellbeing foundations early in life. This objective will especially require adapting the health services that are traditionally considered part of UHC to reflect the needs and priorities of children and young people, which are likely to vary across age groups, communities, and levels of digital literacy.

"There are several reasons for putting children and young people at the centre of this effort.

"First, addressing the role of digital technologies as determinants of health already in early childhood will be crucial for reducing the social and economic burdens of disease later in life.

"Second, the health and wellbeing outcomes of children and young people are likely to be a litmus test for the capacity of societies to harness digital transformations in support of UHC for all people.

"Third, although there is no universal experience of growing up in a digital world, children and young people are generally those with the highest exposure to digital technologies. As such, they are both particularly exposed to potential harms that might derive from them and uniquely equipped to shape positive health futures through codesign of digital health solutions and participatory research and decision making."

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT