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a prominent role for digital technology in public health is the management of infectious diseases outbreaks. digital technology is already playing a major role in managing and predicting epidemics 70 . for example, data-driven online forecasting and alerting systems have been developed to detect and predict the evolution of emerging infectious diseases like covid-19 71 .
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epidemiologists have established a broad framework for surveillance that includes the use of digital technologies 72 . the combination of existing and emerging data technologies can provide the capability to improve the speed, accuracy and effectiveness of data-driven decision-making at all stages of the pandemic, from outbreak detection to response 73 . the implementation of these new technologies requires careful attention to their ethical, legal and social acceptability 74, 75 . data-driven decision-making will also require the integration of digital technologies into the regulation, evaluation and use of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, the use of which will require specific consideration of country-level regulatory pathways 76, 77 . the use of digital technologies in pandemic preparedness should be driven by informed, patient-centred and population-centred policy 78, 79 .
the successful implementation of digital technology will require careful evaluation. the who should take the lead in this effort 80 . population-wide digital adoption must be included in existing global health platforms, including digital health and health systems frameworks 81, 82 . digital technology can play a critical role in the evaluation of the effectiveness of interventions, and operational research to assess the potential for improved patient outcomes through the use of digital technology is urgently needed 83, 84 . more formal research into the use of digital technology in public health is needed to inform policy and practice 85, 86 . examples of topics that can be studied are those that have the potential to reduce hospital and health-care costs and improve the efficiency and impact of health-care interventions 87, 88 .