Extensive sourcing work, including field and distance surveys as well as calls for expressions of interest, enable identification of relevant initiatives for the Observatory's open and evolving database. The selection of the projects incorporated to the Observatory is carried out after study of the questionnaires informed by the project sponsors.
As a result, the Observatory's database is not exhaustive, although its evolutionary characteristic aims to tend towards a certain selective exhaustiveness in the months / years to come. This parameter must be taken into account in the analysis of the data.
It should be noted that projects carried out by the health sector mainly concern telemedicine and tele-expertise, while the industrial sector mainly produces mobile applications, focused on information and raising awareness of health problems, or connecting patients and healthcare professionals.
Represented in relatively equivalent portions, the fields of application of the solutions reflect the opportunities e-health offers to promote access to healthcare.
25% of the projects concern the monitoring of patients and medical data, that is to say the digitization of health data: electronic health records booklets are set up to reinforce the monitoring of patients' health status and health information systems can be used to monitor health data in real time to help decision-making by the authorities.
24% of initiatives include information, education and communication for behavior change. The main objective is to extend people's access to health information to promote prevention by limiting risk factors and, in the case of maternal and child health programs, to encourage regular medical follow-up .
23% of the projects are devoted to the training of health professionals, and more particularly to continuing education, which is predominantly represented.
Telemedicine (diagnosis and remote consultation), which concerns 18% of initiatives, provides care for the most remote populations or in areas where there is a shortage of professionals and infrastructures. Only financial access to care is scarcely represented: it concerns only 5% of initiatives. Other areas of application include human resource management, geo-location of health facilities, and linking patients with practitioners.
49% of initiatives aim to improve access to primary healthcare and more than 50% target maternal and child health. These themes correspond to current global health challenges, as 400 million people lack access to at least one essential health service worldwide (World Bank, 2015) and 156 million children under age 5 are stunted worldwide (World Health Organization, 2016). The Sustainable Development Goal n°3 ("Good health and well-being") also integrates these issues, in line with the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 ("Reduce child and post-child mortality" and "Improve Maternal health ").
While the majority of initiatives are currently routine projects, more than a third are at a pilot stage. It should be noted that in the vast majority of cases, the development of e-health tools in the Global South requires a research phase and a pilot project, initially at a local level. Its transposition to other neighboring countries takes place only in a second stage, once it is truly functional.
Interestingly, more than 70% of the proposed solutions can be used offline. This is of considerable interest to the most isolated populations, where access to telephony and internet networks may be intermittent or non-existent. Project sponsors would then use deferred synchronization systems.