Saving Lives from the “Other Crisis” During the COVID-19 Pandemic at Lifeguard Digital Health

By Dr Chandana Unnithan

The field of digital health is growing exponentially in the post-COVID world. As physical distancing becomes a necessity to sustain lives and governments lock down countries into quarantines, convergence of digital technologies has enabled health care services online. Services that are often cited include telemedicine, mobile applications, wearable devices, remote monitoring sensors, and even the use simple text messages via mobile phones that sends alerts to public.

Digital health integrates technologies and people. However, digitization in health also makes the world apprehensive about security and privacy. Will my personal medical data be available publicly? Will it compromise my security? Will my data be used for “other” purposes? The questions relate to the collection, aggregation, and use of data amongst communities and across regions. Inevitably, all questions are regarding civil liberties that should not be compromised. The key to unlocking the digital transformation productively in the health domain is to incorporate privacy-preserving approaches in the design and implementation of technologies while also keeping the public informed about “how” this is being accomplished.

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