Global diffusion of eHealth: Making universal health coverage achievable
The aim of the third global survey on eHealth was to explore developments in eHealth since the last survey in 2010 and the role it plays in achieving universal health coverage (UHC). It has become increasingly clear that UHC cannot be achieved without the support of eHealth. The impetus for the global surveys on eHealth came from the increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in support of health services in both developed and developing countries since the early 2000s. This was acknowledged by the World Health Assembly in resolution WHA58.28 (2005): “eHealth is the cost-effective and secure use of ICT in support of health and health-related fields, including health-care services, health surveillance, health literature, and health education, knowledge and research.” Managed by the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe), the most recent survey had the highest response rate by WHO Member States (125) to date, which reflects growing interest by countries in this issue and eHealth’s increasingly ubiquitous role in health care.
UHC is part of the “post-2015” agenda geared to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. Goal 3 is to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” and its target 8 is to “Achieve universal health coverage”, so that all people receive the high-quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. This presents an opportunity for eHealth to support a comprehensive and coherent approach to health and support integrated, people-centred health services.