Innovation is described as the ability to create new ideas. It has been applied in different contexts and the healthcare sector is no exception. Recent trends in healthcare innovation in Africa mainly explore patients’ participation in the healthcare delivery process.
Digital health provides a platform in which digital technologies facilitate patients’ participation in the healthcare delivery process.
This has seen the adoption of those best-demonstrated practices that have been proven to be successful and implementation of those practices aimed at improving treatment, diagnosis, education, outreach, prevention and research, and with the long-term goals of improving quality, safety, outcomes, efficiency and costs.
Digital health involves the use of different healthcare technologies in administering healthcare services to enhance patients’ health. It involves the use of digital media to transform the way healthcare provision is conceived and delivered.
The broad term of digital health as an emerging field includes mHealth, Wireless Health, Health 2.0, eHealth, e-Patients, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Wearable Computing, Gamification, Telehealth, Telemedicine and so on.
The interest in digital health in Kenya has been driven by the proliferation of mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, which in tandem with easily accessible mobile networks means the digital-enabled public has access to healthcare information at any time and almost anywhere.
A digital health innovation ecosystem is a collaborative network of digital health communities consisting of connected and interdependent digital health stakeholders, healthcare institutions and digital healthcare devices situated in a digital health environment, who adopt the best-demonstrated practices that have been proven to be successful.
This network focuses on the use of information and communication technologies to monitor and improve the well-being and health of patients, to empower patients in the management of their health and that of their families.
The potential benefits of creating this collaborative approach include easing of information access, healthcare technological development and improving quality of care while reducing costs and delivering increasingly personalized service.