WHO Classification of digital health interventions

15 January, 2022


"The classification of digital health interventions (DHIs) categorizes the different ways in which digital and mobile technologies are being used to support health system needs. Targeted primarily at public health audiences, this Classification framework aims to promote an accessible and bridging language for health program planners to articulate functionalities of digital health implementations. Also referred to as a taxonomy, this Classification scheme is anchored on the unit of a “digital health intervention,” which represents a discrete functionality of the digital technology to achieve health sector objectives

"How does this link to other classifications?

"This classification of Digital Health Interventions (DHIs) should be used in tandem with the of list Health System Challenges (HSC) in order to articulate how technology is addressing identified health needs, such as lack of service utilization. The HSC framework provides an overview of needs and challenges faced in health systems, in order to assist program planners to express what they expect to achieve through implementation of a digital health intervention.

"For example, one may implement a digital health intervention, such as “targeted communication to clients”, in order to address a health system challenge, such as “lack of service utilization,” to achieve an overarching eHealth outcome of “improving clients’ access to knowledge resources and support for better management of their health”[5]. The classification of DHIs also highlights functionalities that fit within various System Categories, such as Logistics Management Information Systems (LMIS) or Electronic Medical Records (EMR). System Categories represent the types of ICT applications and information systems designed to deliver one or more digital health interventions.

"A digital health intervention such as “notify stock levels of health commodities” would fit into the System Category of LMIS. Linking digital health interventions to system categories is critical as these serve as the starting point for interoperability considerations.

HIFA profile: Richard Fitton is a retired family doctor - GP, British Medical Association. Professional interests: Health literacy, patient partnership of trust and implementation of healthcare with professionals, family and public involvement in the prevention of modern lifestyle diseases, patients using access to professional records to overcome confidentiality barriers to care, patients as part of the policing of the use of their patient data

Email address: richardpeterfitton7 AT gmail.com