The World Health Organization (WHO) has published its first guidelines on digital health interventions for health system strengthening.
Over the past two years, the WHO has systematically reviewed evidence on digital technologies and consulted with experts from around the world to produce recommendations on some of the key ways such tools may be used for maximum impact on health systems and people’s health.
The new documents make recommendations in 10 areas including telemedicine, health worker decision support via mobile devices, and digital provision of educational and training content to health workers via mobile devices (mLearning).
The guidelines stress that digital health interventions should complement and enhance health system functions but will not replace the fundamental components needed by health systems.
The WHO also says health workers need adequate training to boost their motivation to transition to this new way of working.
“Digital health is not a silver bullet,” says Bernardo Mariano, WHO’s Chief Information Officer. “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.”