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Global Program Seeks Digital Health Technology for Developing Countries

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   November 11, 2022

The Global Medical Doctor Validation Association (GMDVA) is looking for technology donations to support care providers working in some of the world's most underserved locations.

While digital health technology and programs have the potential to improve healthcare in the US, their value to healthcare providers in developing countries is even greater.

That's where the Global Medical Doctor Validation Association (GMDVA) comes in. Based in Belgium, the organization provides technology, education, resources, a network, and connections for placement opportunities for providers around the world.

The GMDVA is especially interested in this point at helping providers in underserved and developing countries gain the technology and resources needed to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes, and has launched an effort to collect donated technology.

HealthLeaders recently spoke, virtually, with Vincenzo Costigliola, MD, president of the GMDVA, about his organization and their efforts to expand digital health across the globe.

Q: How, in your opinion, can digital health technology and education make a difference in developing nations?

Costigliola: We are enabling doctors with the 3Cs: confidence, competence, and curiosity. GMDVA works within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially #3 Education (in this case lifelong health learning), #4 Health and Wellness and #17 Partnerships (by establishing strategic alliances and partnerships in the US, Europe and around the world help create interoperability for universal medicine).

Q. Is this program seeking cash donations only or are you looking for digital health technology as well?

Costigliola: Currently we are seeking donations for a special program to upskill surgeons in developing countries, many of whom themselves are living below the poverty line. This digital surgery program will enable doctors to better engage patients and meet the needs of millions currently waiting for or with no access to surgeries in developing countries.

We are also developing a global ecosystem, so we are always looking for strategic alliances that can help us meet our goal of universal medicine around the world.

Q. Can health systems provide other services, such as digital training or the platform to facilitate digital health education?

Costigliola: Yes, we are always open to working with allies and partners to enhance our Continuing Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development (CME/CPD) programs for learning and development of doctors. Soon we will expand offering these programs to healthcare institutions and all Healthcare Professionals (HCPs). We also work with allies that provide real world application digital skills training to our global doctor community and welcome them to contact us to explore how we might work together.

Q. Aside from this project, what else is GMVDA doing to expand digital health adoption?

Costigliola: GMDVA began with the mission to validate doctors. We are now working to create a global doctor and healthcare professional HCP director on the blockchain. Next, we are developing a system to vet and verify various therapies and treatments, including digital health technologies.

By first ensuring trust in global doctors, then making sure what is being offered is safe, effective, private, and secure, we can then better engage patients, adopt technologies, and innovate digital health together with our strategic alliances.

We are also working on forming a new committee, headed by doctors and scientists from around the world, that will advise on the design and creation of a new decision-making support platform that doctors will be able to access anywhere and anytime to get the right medical knowledge quickly.

Q. Are you working with certain healthcare associations, organizations, or health systems in the US to advance this cause?

Costigliola: We started in Europe, then begin to expand globally. We are co-developing a new Digital Innovation Upskilling Program (DIUP) with our allies that we will be able to roll out to family practitioners/general practitioners (FPs/GPs) throughout the US, then globally to developing countries.

In our model we provide a lot of grants to support doctor digital upskilling in developing countries, and we also are able to subsidize with paid programs in developed countries. We are also currently in talks with the leadership of large cardiology and surgical associations and societies to bring them into our global alliance to co-develop new DIUP programs for their specialty.

Q. Are there any particular technologies or innovations that you'd like to see adopted in developing countries to improve healthcare access/delivery?

Costigliola: We are working with remote digital health and digital surgery solutions providers to help bring these technologies to the developing world. We also plan to digitize all programs to make them accessible to 2,900 medical schools globally to help train younger doctors in digital health technologies and innovation.

We are exponential thinkers: We believe that digital technology will be disruptive, digitized, demonetized, and dematerialized, and then we will be better able to democratize real world experiences and real-world applications of doctors around the world.

Eric Wicklund is the Innovation and Technology Editor for HealthLeaders.


Digital health technology can help to improve healthcare delivery in developing countries, where care providers often struggle with a lack of resources and training.

The Global Medical Doctor Validation Assocation (GMDVA) is a Belgium-based international organization athat offers resources, education, technology, and connections for providers in developing nations.

The GMDVA has launched a new program aimed at supplying providers in developing countries with digital health technology and training to help them improve care delivery.

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