WHO releases first guideline on digital health interventions (2)

20 April, 2019

I have not had a chance to read this guideline in detail but one thing immediately strikes me. The Guideline focuses on pushing information *to* people and specifically excludes the empowerment of people to access (pull) information as and when they need it.

'WHO recommends targeted client communication via mobile devices for behaviour change regarding sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, under the condition that concerns about sensitive content and data privacy are adequately addressed.

'Targeted client communication via mobile devices (targeted communication to individuals)

- Transmission of customized health information for different audience segments (often based on health status or demographic categories). Targeted client communication may include:

i. transmission of health-event alerts to a specified population group;

ii. transmission of health information based on health status or demographics;

iii. alerts and reminders to clients;

iv. transmission of diagnostic results (or of the availability of results).'

The following is specifically excluded from the guideline: 'On-demand information services to clients, 1.6.1 Client look-up of health information'

No reason is given for this bias towards 'pushing information' at the exclusion of empowering people to 'pull' the information they need when they need it.

I look forward to read your observations on the above and other aspects of the guideline:


Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org