WHO releases first guideline on digital health interventions

17 April, 2019

Extracts below and a comment from me. Read in full online: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/17-04-2019-who-releases-first-guide...

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17 April 2019 News release

WHO today released new recommendations on 10 ways that countries can use digital health technology, accessible via mobile phones, tablets and computers, to improve people’s health and essential services.

“Harnessing the power of digital technologies is essential for achieving universal health coverage,” says WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Ultimately, digital technologies are not ends in themselves; they are vital tools to promote health, keep the world safe, and serve the vulnerable.”

Over the past two years, WHO systematically reviewed evidence on digital technologies and consulted with experts from around the world to produce recommendations on some key ways such tools may be used for maximum impact on health systems and people’s health...

Digital health interventions are not sufficient on their own

The guideline demonstrates that health systems need to respond to the increased visibility and availability of information. People also must be assured that their own data is safe and that they are not being put at risk because they have accessed information on sensitive health topics, such as sexual and reproductive health issues...

The guideline also makes recommendations about telemedicine, which allows people living in remote locations to obtain health services by using mobile phones, web portals, or other digital tools. WHO points out that this is a valuable complement to face-to-face-interactions, but it cannot replace them entirely. It is also important that consultations are conducted by qualified health workers and that the privacy of individuals’ health information is maintained...

On 6 March 2019, Dr Tedros announced the creation of the Department of Digital Health to enhance WHO’s role in assessing digital technologies and support Member States in prioritizing, integrating and regulating them.

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Comment (NPW): The guideline can be downloaded here: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/digital-intervention...

This guideline is clearly highly relevant to HIFA and I would like to invite everyone to review it and share your comments and observations. To send a message to HIFA, email: hifa@dgroups.org

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

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