Syndicate content

Recent comments

  • Reply to: Delivering universal health coverage – will smart phone apps replace bureaucrats?   1 week 2 days ago

    Dear Andreas,

    I invite you to Estonia, where large parts of your described system are already working in our ePrescription system. You'll find it interesting, I promise :) At the same time, there's also good ideas that could be added from your vision to the existing eHealth platform here e.g. prescription algorithms could be strengthened in my personal opinion.
    BW, Taavi

  • Reply to: Making the public health case for tobacco taxation   3 weeks 3 days ago

    Thank's for the great comments and calling people's attention to the new WHO report. The discussion on taxation in the report is clear and provides practical guidance to countries on how to assure that they have effective tobacco taxes. All our countries need to follow this advice. Here in the US we have extraordinary variation across states in tobacco taxes from leaders like New York City to laggards where packs cost less than half what they do in New York. The guidance on tobacco taxation offers important lessons for efforts to begin to tax unhealthy processed foods like sugary drinks and junk food. Preferential use of excise taxes, setting the tax high enough to really lower consumption, and automatically adjusting for inflation are all tobacco lessons that will serve us as we start taxing the other major products causing noncommunicable disease. These were all important discussions in Mexico, San Francisco and Berkeley as we drafted sugary drink taxes.

  • Reply to: What’s behind a number? Information systems and the road to universal health coverage   3 weeks 4 days ago

    Many thanks for your question. Certainly patient privacy and confidentiality is a very important issue to bear in mind. Some stakeholders may perceive a tension between maintaining privacy and keeping information safe, while still being able to analyze trends, key policies, or health care management questions. Of course, respecting the rights of patients to confidentiality of their health information and to be informed of activities involving use of their information is absolutely critical, especially in the context of research. Fundamentally, success depends on building trust in how these systems are being used and for what aims. Use of big data needs to ensure these rights and the right safety mechanisms are in place for only using information to better manage the health of populations. The good news is as technologies continue to advance, public institutions increasingly have more tools to ensure confidentiality, improve awareness of how personal information is being used, and maintain system transparency. One important strategy for establishing trust is learning from successful practices across countries. In Estonia, for example, the citizens’ electronic files cover all areas of the public sphere and interactions individuals have with the health system, allowing them to check their files and know what type of information was pooled and who requested the data pull. We can also be learning from other industries in this respect like the financial system which is continuously innovating to keep sensitive information protected. There are many ways to face these challenges and this topic quite likely merits another blog post in itself in the future. Again, thanks for the insightful comment.

  • Reply to: Making the public health case for tobacco taxation   3 weeks 5 days ago

    Excellent blog article. Time for government and political leaders to wake up and take decisive action on tobacco taxes.

  • Reply to: What’s behind a number? Information systems and the road to universal health coverage   1 month 2 days ago

    How do you incorporate the need for patient privacy into patient ID systems? Or is this of secondary importance, subordinate to achieving better outcomes?