International locations within the European Area undertake first-ever digital well being motion plan

Well being ministers and delegates from WHO/Europe’s 53 Member States have adopted the Area’s first-ever digital well being motion plan – an formidable agenda that may leverage digital transformation in Europe and central Asia with the purpose of bettering folks’s well being and well-being.

Assembly on 12 September 2022 on the 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, the ministers and delegates authorized a decision recognizing the crucial position and potential of digital instruments within the well being sector, and constructing on the teachings realized throughout practically 3 years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital well being is among the many 4 flagship areas of the WHO European Program of Work 2020–2025 (EPW) – “United Motion for Higher Well being in Europe”. The brand new motion plan is a concrete step in direction of making the EPW a actuality by leveraging digital instruments to advance common well being protection, shield folks from well being emergencies, and promote well being and well-being within the Area.

“Digital well being must be seen as an enabler to realize well being objectives, and never as the answer itself for well being issues or wants,” defined Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “To be significant and actually promote higher well being, digital instruments want good governance, correct laws, and insurance policies that promote the wholesome use of those instruments whereas offering the individuals who use them – well being employees and sufferers – with the coaching and help they should make the very best of them.”

Assembly well being challenges with the assistance of digital instruments

The broader adoption of digital instruments for well being has actual potential to assist governments and other people within the Area as they proceed to work in direction of assembly current well being challenges, together with these led to by the pandemic.

Digital well being helps develop the idea of digital well being (eHealth) to cowl areas equivalent to:

  • telemedicine – making certain folks can entry well being providers no matter the place they reside;
  • well being information and well being data techniques – making certain authorities have the data they should develop well being insurance policies;
  • synthetic intelligence and massive information – supporting clinicians, suppliers and policy-makers in planning or implementing interventions; and
  • countering the web infodemic – serving to folks belief high-quality well being data.

The newly adopted motion plan was developed following consultations with companions and the 53 international locations of the Area. It takes into consideration international locations’ priorities in these and different areas, in addition to their wants and challenges, together with points with entry to digital well being providers amongst weak teams.

Placing sufferers on the middle of digital options

For digital options to really succeed, the folks utilizing them have to be supplied with the best coaching and information.

“WHO/Europe is right here to help international locations as they leverage the usage of digital instruments in an inclusive and clear means, whereas additionally defending folks’s privateness and particular wants,” stated Dr Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Director of the Division of Nation Well being Insurance policies and Techniques at WHO/Europe.

Dr Azzopardi-Muscat continued, “The digital literacy of all customers must be a key part of any profitable digital well being technique. Along with governments in our Area, we’ll work on options that put the wants of sufferers and well being employees on the centre.”

The plan encourages international locations to prioritize advancing digital well being literacy to assist obtain nationwide well being objectives, enhance well being system efficiency, and information future digital well being investments and transformation. It proposes they achieve this by acknowledging the wants of residents and well being employees whereas selling an built-in care strategy that institutionalizes digital well being within the Area.