WHO releases first guideline on digital health interventions (5)

21 April, 2019

The Guideline notes: 'The recommendations in this guideline represent a subset of prioritized digital health interventions accessible via mobile devices, and this guideline will gradually include a broader set of emerging digital health interventions over subsequent versions.'

What this first guideline includes (and does not include) is illustrated in an infographic with four major groups of interventions (Figure 3, page xvii):

1 Clients (7 subsections)

2 Health workers (10 subsections)

3 Health system managers (7 subsections)

4 Data services (4 subsections).

The guideline development group selected seven subsections from groups 1-3, representing 25% of the total. The guideline document describes the Methods used and it would be interesting to know more. I suspect there was a case to comprehensively address one major group, rather than to make an (arguably eclectic?) selection from three groups.

With regard to the focus on mobile health, this is deliberate as explained by the paragraph on page xix:

'Mobile devices are now used widely in almost all settings, and this has been the primary driver for research and investment in digital health efforts across low- and middle-income countries. The mobile nature of these devices also offers unique opportunities for service delivery. Given the current and growing importance of mobile devices for delivering digital health interventions, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, it was decided that this guideline would focus on digital health interventions that were accessible via mobile devices. This decision was also based on the need to define clear parameters for the systematic reviews.'

I look forward to read further comments. You can download the guideline itself here:


Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, mHIFA Project (Mobile Healthcare Information For All)


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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