Digital Health to Support Family Planning Providers: Improving knowledge, capacity, and service quality

What is the program enhancement that can intensify the impact of High Impact Practices in Family Planning?

Used by appropriately trained health care providers and with supportive processes in place, devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers with various software applications are equipping countries to improve health care delivery, strengthen health systems, and support clients. With growing evidence that technologies can yield time and resource efficiencies and improve quality of care—resulting in better patient outcomes—in 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) issued recommendations for digital interventions for health systems strengthening.

This brief uses the WHO definition of digital health from the draft Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020-2024: “the field of knowledge and practice associated with the development and use of digital technologies to improve health.” Therefore, the recommendations here include interventions in mHealth (medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices) and eHealth (the use of information and communication technologies for health), with the most recent evidence largely focused on mHealth.

Of the six building blocks of health systems identified by the WHO, this brief focuses on the first: service delivery. More specifically the focus is on the ways digital health can support service providers to deliver quality contraceptive services. In context of the more recent high-quality health system framework, this brief focuses on two aspects of the framework: competent care and systems (process of care element) and workforce (foundations element). The focus of the brief is specifically on providers because other High Impact Practice (HIP) briefs discuss digital health for social and behavior change and digital health for systems.