Digital Square is a digital health marketplace (or 'square') where supply and demand come together to accelerate health equity. We connect health leaders with the resources necessary for digital transformation. Digital Square is housed at PATH, and supported by USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a consortium of other donors.
This wiki serves as a platform for technical audiences to obtain resources and information related to Digital Square's investments in global goods. More general information about Digital Square can be found on the main website.
Digital Square is leveraging its unique role and strengths to support countries, donors, and partners in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harnessing existing relationships across the global digital health ecosystem, we mobilize our robust network of partners in coordinated response. We also utilize PATH's work in global health security, malaria, primary health care, and the broader digital and data portfolio to more comprehensively support country partners in ensuring essential health services remain available Read our full capability statement here.
Visit the COVID-19 page on this wiki to learn more about how global goods are supporting pandemic response and access a range of available resources.
Visit the Global goods and vaccinations to learn more about how global goods are supporting COVID-19 vaccine introduction.
Digital Square Information
What We Do
Digital Square addresses the need for a thriving marketplace for health.
We work in three key ways:
- Identify promising investment opportunities and provides operational support to streamline procurement
- Promote the development, adoption, and reuse of digital health global goods, and helps increase their availability, adaptability, and maturity
- Elevate country priorities and strengthen regional and national digital health capacity
Digital Square's investments follow detailed governance processes that leverage a Peer Review Committee, Board, and Investment Review Committee. Additionally, Digital Square serves as the Secretariat for DIAL's Health-Sustainability Advisory Group.
Digital Square Global Goods are digital health tools which are open source (FOSS), have no barrier to access for services or available under open content licenses etc, are supported by an anchor organization/strong community, have a clear governance structures, have been deployed at scale, are used across multiple countries, have demonstrated effectiveness, are designed to be interoperable, and are on a continuum towards sustainability for the tool/service.
There are three types of Global Goods:
- Software: A software tool that is free and open source (FOSS), and used to manage, analyze, or transmit health-related data, with proven utility in several settings.
- Services: A software tool that is used to manage, transmit, or analyze health-related data that can be freely accessed as a software service and adheres to open data principles.
- Content: A resource, toolkit, or data standard that is available under an open license and that is used to improve or analyze health data management and exchange processes.
- What are Global Goods
- Shelf Readiness
- Global Goods Maturity
- Becoming a Global Good
- How Digital Square supports standards
- What are Product Suites
Presence of global goods in countries
View the Mapping of Global Goods to see countries with global good deployments and the number of global goods in use.
Digital Square Investments in Global Goods
The Global Goods Community
Global Good Resources
Alignment with other mechanisms
UNICEF/WHO Digital Health Center of Excellence (DICE)
Many countries do not have fully functioning digital systems or solutions required to address health and information systems priorities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as post-pandemic health systems’ needs. Digital Square and the newly formed UNICEF/WHO Digital Health Center of Excellence (DICE) are proactively looking for opportunities to collaborate to support countries’ wanting to invest in sustainable and scalable deployments of carefully chosen digital solutions for COVID-19 pandemic response plans. DICE is committed to supporting countries harness appropriate digital public goods, many of which are mature and already integrated into national systems, to provide substantial multilayered support to the COVID-19 pandemic using a health system strengthening lens; from planning distribution of commodities and vaccines, tracking supplies, surveillance and case detection, monitoring coverage of services, and communicating to generate demand and reduce misinformation. . Digital Square’s Mission is to connect health leaders with the resources they need for digital transformation. Through our collective partnership, we aim to not only support country needs now, but also to help country leaders build stronger, more sustainable digital systems, which will improve health outcomes beyond the current pandemic.”
Digital Public Goods Alliance & the WHO Digital Clearing House
Digital Square is closely coordinating with the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA), a multi-stakeholder initiative co-hosted by UNICEF and the Government of Norway, and the technical leads at the WHO Clearinghouse, to align the global goods and digital public goods approval processes for health solutions. Though there are differences in criteria across these initiatives, there are opportunities for alignment that have the potential to accelerate the discovery and adoption of global goods. While efforts are underway to align these processes, several points have been agreed upon:
- Digital Public Goods are defined by the UN Secretary-General as open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm, and help attain the SDGs. This definition is operationalized through a nine-indicator open standard that projects must meet. The DPG Standard does not assess the scale, funding sources, country deployments, or other indicators of a “mature” global good.
- Within the context of health, software global goods are considered a mature subset of DPGs. Digital Square and the DPGA are currently working to align processes so that health-related software Global Goods approved through Digital Square also meet the DPG Standard.
- Both Digital Square global goods and DPGs must be open source. The WHO Clearinghouse will include proprietary solutions mapped to specific use cases.
- Digital Square nor the WHO Clearinghouse certify global goods. The DPGA reviews digital solutions against the DPG standard, and approves them as digital public goods.
- While the majority of global goods will meet the DPG Standard required to be approved as a digital public good, there are two reasons why not all DPGs will be software global goods:
- Digital Square exclusively evaluates solutions relevant to the health sector whereas DPGs are sector agnostic.
- Digital Square facilitates a peer review process that assess maturity and aligns and weighs in on “awarding” the title of Digital Square approved global good. In contrast, DPGs have no maturity requirement.
- Digital Square, WHO and the DPGA will be piloting the application of the combined standards for DPGs and global goods to identify and assess promising short-listed projects of high relevance for immunization delivery management as part of the Community of Practice (CoP) for Digital Health convened by the DPGA and cochaired by UNICEF Health.
- In future iterations of this Global Goods Guidebook, Digital Square will note which global goods are DPGs and which use cases have been approved through the WHO Clearinghouse. The DPG Registry will also note which DPGs are Digital Square approved global goods. Digital Square, the DPGA, and the WHO Clearinghouse will continue to cross reference respective “approvals” of global goods.
The goal for creating alignment and collaboration across these institutions is to better empower country governments, donors and digital tool implementers with a clear understanding of which digital public goods are evaluated by technical expert entities and which digital public goods are recommended based on these criteria. Digital Square, the DPGA, and WHO are fully aligned in the belief that digital health solutions and services are critical for creating a more equitable world. By aligning efforts, these entities are better able to increase the discovery, adoption and support for the high-quality tools that are most needed to ensure better health outcomes for all.
- Through PATH, Digital Square joins the Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA) as a new member (web article)
- Understanding the Relationship between Digital Public Goods and Global Goods in the Context of Digital Health
- Presentation from the April 2021 Global Digital Development Forum: Navigating how to choose and use from different resources which track Global Goods (slides)
- Presentation from the December 2020 Global Digital Health Forum: GDHF 2020 Presentation on Aligning Global Public Goods: How WHO, UNICEF and Digital Square are coordinating for the digital health community (slides)
- Principles for Digital Development
- The Mobile Economy 2018
- The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2017
- Scaling Digital Health in Emerging Markets
- The latest case study on a mHealth service in Tanzania: Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby
- HIV and Digital Health Projects in South Africa
- CHARISMA is an empowerment-based, counselor-administered intervention that was adapted into a mobile-friendly, self-administered website, CHARISMA Mobile, for wider accessibility and fewer human resources for HIV prevention and relationship counseling. CHARISMA Mobile is funded by Digital Square, a PATH-led initiative funded and designed by USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a consortium of other investors. This brief outlines why and how you can use the CHARISMA Mobile content on your own digital platforms, and an overview of the development of CHARISMA Mobile. If you are working in a health setting, these printable flyers (1, 2, 3) with QR codes will direct visitors to CHARISMA Mobile content adapted to young people of any gender identity through the South Africa Department of Health’s B-Wise website.
- Digital Health to Support HIV Care: A landscape assessment of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces in South Africa (2022) South Africa has the highest number of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the world and the highest number of people enrolled in antiretroviral (ART) therapy. While significant progress has been made since ART was introduced in 2004, there is a need to further reduce new infections and to increase ART initiation and retention. Digital health interventions can strengthen the health system, but success relies on an effective digital health ecosystem. Digital Square was tasked by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to conduct an HIV digital health landscape assessment in South Africa’s two most populous provinces. The purpose of the assessment is to understand the prevalence and barriers to treatment of HIV and how the digital health ecosystem is affecting progress towards local HIV targets and the Sustainable Development Goals in the public health sector. The following resources created from the assessment:
- The report Digital Health to Support HIV Care: A landscape assessment of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal Gauteng provinces in South Africa (2022) provides an overview of HIV and its associated digital health ecosystem in those provinces. Promising practices, gaps, challenges, and recommendations identified through the assessment can assist provincial health leaders, donors, and other partners with strengthening the digital health ecosystem in the public health sector to support HIV and other health programs.
- In addition to the list of systems, tools, and applications described in the report, a table entitled Digital health systems, applications and tools identified by the Map & Match and Vital Wave projects can assist with future landscape assessments.
- Finally, the Provincial Data Governance Framework developed during the project can support provinces with implementation of and ultimately compliance with the Draft National Policy on Data and Cloud.
Digital Square Resources
- Partner Resources
- Grants and Contracts Basics
- Market Maturity Methodology
- Navigator for Digital Health Capability Models
- Digital Square on FHIR
Digital Health & Interoperability Working Group
The Digital Health & Interoperability Working Group (DH&I WG) is a volunteer community of practice dedicated to strengthening country health systems and outcomes through the appropriate and responsible use of digital information technologies.
Digital Health Applied Leadership Program
The Digital Health Applied Leadership Program (DHALP) launched in 2021 as a year-long learning program that enhances participants’ capacity to successfully lead and execute digital health programs. Designed with a comprehensive leadership curriculum for a diverse cohort of learners, the DHALP consists of core online courses, workshops, instruction from tutors, and guidance from country-specific coaches who support participants in planning and delivering a country team project designed to build digital health capacity across participating countries.
The concept of the DHALP was co-created at the November 2019 Digital Health Leadership Capacity Building Conference by representatives from 17 low- and middle-income country governments, the World Health Organization (WHO), investors, and educators. With Digital Square’s support, the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) is currently implementing the DHALP for Africa-based participants with a consortium that includes the University of Thies, the Stanford Center for Health Education, and Inshuti Mu Buzima-Partners in Health. Other partners are the World Bank and TechChange.
- DHALP Overview
- Announcing the Digital Health Applied Leadership Program (web article)
- Needs Assessment Presentation
Digital Square is a PATH-led initiative funded and designed by the United States Agency of International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a consortium of other donors.
The Digital Square wiki is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development. The contents are the responsibility of PATH and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.