The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday released a first-of-its-kind guideline on 10 ways for countries to apply digital health interventions across the health system while avoiding potential detrimental effects.
The 10 recommendations are detailed in the UN agency’s 124-page guideline for strengthening health systems through the appropriate implementation of digital health. The focus of the guideline is currently limited to digital health technologies that can be accessed via cellphones, tablets and/or computers and indicated for improving patient health and essential health delivery services. WHO plans to release future versions of its guideline to reflect a broader scope of digital health interventions.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, said: “Today we have more health information – and misinformation – at our fingertips than any generation in history. Before we ever sit down in a doctor’s office, most of us have Googled our symptoms and diagnosed ourselves – perhaps inaccurately. Similarly, digital technologies are being used to improve the training and performance of health workers, and to address a diversity of persistent weaknesses in health systems.”
The 10 recommended interventions are deployable via any digital device, which is meant to ensure such interventions are applicable in settings with low resources.
Recommendations deal with birth and death notifications via mobile devices, stock notifications and commodity management via mobile devices, targeted client communication via telemedicine, digital tracking of health status and services via mobile devices, as well as training and educational content for health workers via mobile devices.