WHO releases first guideline on digital interventions for strengthening health systems

The World Healthcare Organisation (WHO) has released new recommendations on ways that countries can use digital health technology to improve people’s health and essential health services.

The guideline covers the digital health interventions of:

  • Birth notification via mobile device
  • Targeted client communication via mobile devices
  • Client-to-provider telemedicine
  • Provider-to-provider telemedicine
  • Stock notification and commodity management via mobile devices
  • Digital provision of training and educational content to health workers via mobile devices/mobile learning (mLearning)
  • Health worker decision support via mobile devices
  • Digital tracking combined with:
    • decision support and
    • targeted client communication
  • Death notification via mobile device

WHO suggests that while the guideline demonstrates that health systems should ensure increased availability and flow of information, digital health interventions are not sufficient on their own. Policy-makers and implementers need to constantly review available resources and adapt to new conditions if they want digital tools to provide tangible changes.

Dr Garrett Mehl, WHO scientist in Digital Innovation and Research warns:

“Digital interventions, depend heavily on the context and ensuring appropriate design. This includes structural issues in the settings where they are being used, available infrastructure, the health needs they are trying to address, and the ease of use of the technology itself.”

Bernardo Mariano, WHO’s Chief Information Officer said:

“Digital health is not a silver bullet. WHO is working to make sure it’s used as effectively as possible. This means ensuring that it adds value to the health workers and individuals using these technologies, takes into account the infrastructural limitations, and that there is proper coordination.”

See the full announcement for further information on WHO’s work on digital health.

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Published 25. April 2019 in News