Presented by: Bandar Al Knawy, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Saudi Arabia
Background: A visionary leader views adversities as leading to new opportunities. In response to the viral war brought by Covid-19, a new leadership toolkit is essential. This toolkit is digital leadership in health and care.
Objectives: Covid-19 has brought the importance of public health to the forefront as a critical global health security issue, and digital health has been essential for data and public health in this pandemic. A global and unified approach to current and future disease outbreaks, can be achieved by addressing interoperability of health and care systems, generating high quality data, and training and up-skilling of healthcare workforce front liners. In addition, the culture of innovative solutions and research must be enhanced.
Platform: The current global public health framework allows nations to report and share limited information by a reporting mechanism (e.g., to the World Health Organization). As the world enters the digital era, in addition to a potential centralized platform, information-sharing has to move toward real-time, high quality sharing and a peer-to-peer mode. A multi-actor framework must be fostered to bring together privacy and data protection authorities, governments, data providers, public health institutions, and researchers. To establish robust preparedness protocols for future pandemic emergencies, collaborative networks should be created in peacetime. Sustainable funding and investment to build a global infrastructure for data exchange that is connected in back-end databases run by the health system and government, will allow data, if trusted, to flow freely and securely to where it is needed for the global health system.
Conclusion: A framework that standardizes and verifies such information is necessary as a foundation to aid in constructive communication and data-sharing within the international community. Such a framework should enhance communication and connectivity to cope with the scale and pressure of future pandemic events.
Bandar Al Knawy is senior executive of the Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs and president of King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia. He serves as an executive member of the Saudi Health Service Council, the national governing healthcare body in Saudi Arabia.