WHO Updates Digital Health Publication

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the second edition of “Classification of digital interventions, services, and applications in health,” which documents and describes the uses of digital technology to advance health goals.

The publication updates the original one, which WHO published in 2018 under the title “Classification of digital health interventions v1.0.” The publication is organized around three categories: digital health interventions, digital services and applications, and health system challenges.

The updated version features new digital health interventions, as well as a new category in the health system challenges section on equity. WHO also renamed the previous “Systems categories” section to “Services and Application types,” featuring a range of tech capabilities used in health.

“Key drivers for using digital tools for health are to address performance gaps in the health system and to increase access to quality, timely, actionable information for the health workforce and health-seeking individuals,” WHO said in a press release.

“With ongoing technology advances, there has been a corresponding rise globally in the development and use of digital technologies in health and for health, to support person-centered healthcare as well as to augment routine prevention, management, diagnostic interventions and health care coordination by the health workforce,” it added.

WHO said that as the technology and health landscape continue to rapidly evolve, it’s important to provide up-to-date resources to guide and support this work.

The publication can serve as a resource to stakeholders looking to implement digital technologies that respond to evolving health needs, WHO said. Additionally, it “provides a standardized nomenclature in support of designing research and curating findings on how digital health interventions contribute to health goals.”

WHO said it hopes the document can provide a number of benefits, including that it can support the categorization of digital services and applications for digital health “in support of inventory analysis, planning, and investment coordination.”

It also can help to articulate digital health capabilities “to facilitate the development of requirements documentation,” WHO said.

WHO is looking for feedback on the updated publication and plans to incorporate the proposed additions and improvements into future versions of the document. Interested stakeholders can provide comments through the public feedback form available here.