REGULATING THE MIGRATION OF
HEALTH APPS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Silicon Savannah is a term used to describe the technology ecosystem in Kenya and illustrates the rapid technological advances that have been made in the Kenyan ICT sector. This focus has led to international attention and increased private equity firms which promote efficiency and growth to budding entrepreneurs who change their practices to increase their chances of funding (Friederici et al 2019).
This is problematic because it impoverishes the development of local products while also leaving the continent dependent on Western software and infrastructure (Biharne 2020). Many health app developers knowingly or unknowingly sign away the rights to the data collected by health apps at the development stage.
This project aims to question whether and how we can change some of the logic of the development process (that is, the road-to-market innovation cycle) of health apps to embed more progressive processes that are less apt to lead to the reinforcement of digital health coloniality.
Further, given the different stakeholders and the fast rate of technological change, the project will attempt to think about regulation in tandem with various stakeholders in health, who may include and are not limited to Medical Health insurers and regulatory agencies that would include the Ministry of Health, the Medical and Dentists and Practitioners Council, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, among others.
We have the following broad objectives that are anticipated for the above process.
- Exploring what is possible
- Research and development into these ideas
- Knowledge management and other factors in the process
- Exploring ways in which digital activism can enable the road-to-market for health apps.
- Empowering local innovation leveraging local data ecosystems and the policy recommendations thereof.
At this stage, the hackathon is focused on generating feasible ideas, to begin with - by making a broad call for proposals.
We want to explore ideas that lead to solutions that sustainably leverage opportunities and mitigate challenges in health. We would also like to challenge the logic that people who finance the development of health apps own all the data that they collect leading to the migration of health data so that it can be added into bigger and bigger data sets, which is crucial to the development of mHealth.
We have identified the following areas and themes that form the innovation problem
Encryption to secure patients’ private and personal information on m-health platforms: Techniques that can aid to protect health data when it is shared or transmitted between systems.
Authentication and authorization of users on mhealth platforms: Innovations that will tackle controlling access to sensitive health information of different kinds (including images, etc) for various users within the medical digital data value chain.
Integration of legacy healthcare systems with mHealth platforms: how can we mitigate interoperability challenges that occur along the medical digital data value chain - when new data is merged with legacy systems.
Innovations in telehealthcare; how can we still ensure data privacy and information security in the era of the provision of health services electronically?