WHO guidelines for digital health

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has published 10 guidelines about how to use digital health tools to improve patient care.

The recommendations cover several areas, from how to use digital tools for birth notifications to the implementation of decision support tools for health professionals; from the use of telemedicine to digital services for health education. You can access the paper here.

Harnessing the power of digital technologies is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including universal health coverage and the other “triple billion” targets in WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work. Such technologies are no longer a luxury; they are a necessity”, states Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO General Director, in the introduction to the document.

In this he also adds: “A key challenge is to ensure that all people enjoy the benefits of digital technologies for everyone. We must make sure that innovation and technology helps to reduce the inequities in our world, instead of becoming another reason people are left behind. Countries must be guided by evidence to establish sustainable harmonized digital systems, not seduced by every new gadget.

The guidelines are designed to help decision-makers in government health departments, the public health sector and other stakeholders better understand how digital tools can respond to the health needs of the population. The paper addresses the issue of patients’ privacy, suggests how to implement these tools appropriately and how to overcome obstacles to their adoption.

WHO officials developed the guidelines using two online surveys and three meetings with various stakeholders. The guidelines cover patients, health professionals, health authorities and public health.

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The document consists of 124 pages, including five appendices. For each of the 10 topics covered, recommendations are given on how to develop digital services, what to pay attention to and the benefits that can be obtained.

I suggest you read it!

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