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A Framework for Digital Health Policy: Insights from Virtual Primary Care Systems Across Five Nations

Srivastava, D. ORCID: 0000-0001-5135-3592, Van Kessel, R., Delgrange, M. , Cherla, A., Sood, H. & Mossialos, E. (2023). A Framework for Digital Health Policy: Insights from Virtual Primary Care Systems Across Five Nations. PLOS Digital Health, 2(11), article number e0000382. doi: 10.1371/journal.pdig.0000382


Digital health technologies used in primary care, referred to as, virtual primary care, allow patients to interact with primary healthcare professionals remotely though the current iteration of virtual primary care may also come with several unintended consequences, such as accessibility barriers and cream skimming. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a well-established framework to understand the functional components of health systems. However, the existing building blocks framework does not sufficiently account for the disruptive and multi-modal impact of digital transformations. In this review, we aimed to develop the first iteration of this updated framework by reviewing the deployment of virtual primary care systems in five leading countries: Canada, Finland, Germany and Sweden and the United Kingdom (England). We found that all five countries have taken different approaches with the deployment of virtual primary care, yet seven common themes were highlighted across countries: (1) stated policy objectives, (2) regulation and governance, (3) financing and reimbursement, (4) delivery and integration, (5) workforce training and support, (6) IT systems and data sharing, and (7) the extent of patient involvement in the virtual primary care system. The conceptual framework that was derived from these findings offers a set of guiding principles that can facilitate the assessment of virtual primary care in health system settings.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 Srivastava et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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