Harnessing Technology to Improve Health in Underserved Communities: Insights from WSIS 2023 and a Call to Action at HIMSS

Tatyana Kanzaveli
4 min readApr 17

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The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2023 Forum brought together stakeholders from various sectors to discuss the role of technology in shaping a more inclusive and equitable global society. One key area of focus was utilizing technology to improve health for people in underserved communities around the world. This article delves into the insights gleaned from the WSIS Forum, provides a summary of the presentation, and concludes with a call to action for the upcoming Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference.

WSIS 2023 Presentation Summary:

At the WSIS 2023 Forum, I presented on the potential of digital health solutions, including telemedicine, mobile health applications, and data-driven decision-making tools, to transform healthcare in underserved communities. I highlighted successful case studies from various regions, emphasizing the importance of collaborative approaches, local partnerships, and cultural sensitivity in implementing these technologies.

In addition, I discussed challenges such as infrastructure limitations, privacy concerns, and digital literacy, proposing strategies to overcome them. The presentation generated insightful discussions and emphasized the need for a global commitment to bridging the digital divide and ensuring equitable access to healthcare for all.

HIMSS Call to Action:

Building on the insights and discussions from the WSIS Forum, I urge all stakeholders attending the HIMSS conference to collaborate and take concrete steps towards leveraging digital health solutions to improve access and quality of care in underserved communities. Some key calls to action include:

- Foster Public-Private Partnerships

- Invest in Infrastructure

- Enhance Digital Literacy

- Address Privacy and Security Concerns

- Focus on Sustainability and Scalability

- Share Knowledge and Best Practices

- Monitor and Evaluate Impact

By working together and focusing on these calls to action, we can harness the power of technology to bridge the healthcare divide and ensure that underserved communities around the world have equitable access to quality healthcare services.

Full Text of WSIS 2023 Presentation:

Distinguished delegates,

I am honored to address this esteemed gathering on a crucial topic that affects us all: access to information and knowledge for all, and the need to bridge digital divides in healthcare.

Information and knowledge are essential for improving healthcare outcomes, and access to these resources should be universal. However, there are significant disparities in access to healthcare information and knowledge, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The digital divide exacerbates this problem, as those without access to technology and the internet are at a significant disadvantage.

To address this challenge, we must work together to bridge the digital divide and promote universal access to information and knowledge in healthcare. We must prioritize investments in digital infrastructure, including broadband access and digital literacy programs, to ensure that people have access to the resources they need to make informed healthcare decisions.

In addition, we must prioritize the development and dissemination of high-quality, evidence-based healthcare information and knowledge in local languages and culturally relevant formats.

This will help ensure that people can access the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions that are appropriate for their specific circumstances.

To promote equitable access to healthcare information and knowledge, we must also engage in multistakeholder collaborations that bring together governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, and other stakeholders. By working together, we can develop comprehensive solutions that address the complex challenges of bridging digital divides in healthcare and promote universal access to information and knowledge.

Access to information and knowledge is a fundamental human right, and we must work together to ensure that this right is respected and upheld in healthcare. By bridging digital divides and promoting universal access to information and knowledge, we can improve healthcare outcomes and promote a more equitable and just world for all.

The Open Health Network is a powerful tool that can be used to bridge digital divides and promote universal access to healthcare information and knowledge. By leveraging technology and advanced data analytics, the Open Health Network can provide people with real-time access to accurate, evidence-based healthcare information and knowledge, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status.

The Open Health Network can also be used to develop and disseminate culturally relevant healthcare information and knowledge in local languages, which is essential for ensuring that people can access the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions.

In addition, the Open Health Network can be used to support the development of digital literacy programs and other initiatives aimed at improving digital infrastructure and promoting universal access to healthcare information and knowledge. By working with governments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders, the Open Health Network can help promote multistakeholder collaborations that are essential for addressing the complex challenges of bridging digital divides in healthcare.

Overall, the Open Health Network has the potential to play a vital role in promoting equitable access to healthcare information and knowledge, and in bridging digital divides in healthcare.

By leveraging the power of technology and collaboration, we can ensure that everyone has access to the information and resources they need to make informed healthcare decisions, and promote a more equitable and just world for all.

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The WSIS 2023 Forum provided a valuable platform for discussing the role of technology in improving health for underserved communities. The insights gained from the event underscore the importance of a collective effort to leverage digital health solutions in addressing global healthcare disparities.

As we move forward, the HIMSS conference presents an opportunity to continue this conversation and drive tangible actions to make equitable access to quality healthcare a reality for all.

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