digital health technology Current Affairs - 2019

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WHO Guidelines on Use of Digital Health Technology

World Health Organisation (WHO) has released new recommendations on 10 ways through which countries can use digital health technology which is accessible via mobile phones, tablets and computers to improve people’s health and essential services.

Overview of WHO Recommendations

  • The guideline demonstrates that health systems need to respond to the increased visibility and availability of information.
  • The recommendations advise on everything from how to employ digital tools for birth notifications to implementing health worker decision support tools and using telemedicine to digital health education services.
  • The guidelines are designed to help decision-makers in government health departments; the public health sector and other stakeholders, better understand how digital tools could address their population’s health needs.
  • The guideline emphasises the importance of providing supportive environments for training, dealing with unstable infrastructure, as well as policies to protect the privacy of individuals, and governance and coordination to ensure these tools are not fragmented across the health system.
  • People 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 underlines the importance of reaching vulnerable populations and ensuring that digital health does not endanger them in any way.

The recommendations were based on the two-year-long research by the WHO on digital technologies, including consultations with global experts, so that such tools may be used for maximum impact on health systems and people’s health.