The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released its first-ever guideline on digital health. Dr. Alain Labrique, an associate professor in the department of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, co-chaired the WHO Guideline Development Group, which reviewed and approved the final guideline. The Group also examined and interpreted the evidence and formulated the final evidence-based recommendations. Dr. Smisha Agarwal, an assistant professor in the department, also served as a member of the Group. Bloomberg School alumnus Dr. Garrett Mehl led the development of the guideline as a lead coordinator and scientist in WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.
The guideline includes 10 recommendations on ways digital health technology, such as mobile phones and tablets, can be used to improve people’s health and essential services. The recommendations are based on two years of extensive evaluation of the evidence in consultation with experts from governments, academia, implementation agencies and multilateral organizations from every region around the world.
The recommendations cover topics such as birth notification via mobile devices, digital tracking of patients’ health and training of health workers via mobile devices. For each recommendation, a summary of the evidence on the effects of the intervention is given, its acceptability and feasibility, the equity, gender and human rights impacts and the available resources for implementation.Friday Letter Submission