The recent sixty-sixth World Health Assembly, meeting in Geneva on 27 May, 2013, adopted a new resolution on eHealth standardization and interoperability, which also addressed the .health generic top level domain name (gTLD). The full text of the resolution (WHA 66.24) is now available through the World Health Organization (WHO) website at http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA66/A66_R24-en.pdf
Among other issues, the resolution urges Member States “to consider … options to collaborate with relevant stakeholders, including national authorities, relevant ministries, health care providers, and academic institutions, in order to draw up a road map for implementation of ehealth and health data standards at national and subnational levels; to consider developing … policies and legislative mechanisms linked to an overall national eHealth strategy, in order to ensure compliance in the adoption of ehealth and health data standards by the public and private sectors, as appropriate, and the donor community, as well as to ensure the privacy of personal clinical data; and to consider ways for ministries of health and public health authorities to work with their national representatives on the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee in order to coordinate national positions towards the delegation, governance and operation of health-related global top-level domain names in all languages, including “.health”, in the interest of public health.”
Our thanks to Dr Najeeb Al-Shorbaji, from WHO, for his tweet on the availability of this full text.
As reported on the PAHO/WHO Equity (http://new.paho.org/equity/) email list and Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/eqpaho), and by the WHO Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/WHO ), the WHO Executive Board meeting in Geneva has “considered the report on eHealth and health Internet domain names (http://bit.ly/X6HbX6) and recommends to the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly the adoption of the following resolution: http://bit.ly/Vun2zX “
IMIA, as an NGO in official relations with the WHO attended in the meeting, and IMIA President Prof. Antoine Geissbuhler presented a statement by IMIA on the issues addressed.
The National eHealth Strategy Toolkit, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is available via the ITU website at http://www.itu.int/pub/D-STR-E_HEALTH.05-2012
The National eHealth Strategy Toolkit is described as “an expert, practical guide that provides governments, their ministries and stakeholders with a solid foundation and method for the development and implementation of a national eHealth vision, action plan and monitoring framework. All countries, whatever their level of development, can adapt the Toolkit to suit their own circumstances.”
The development of the toolkit represents one of the most significant collaborations in recent years between the WHO and the ITU, the Toolkit is a landmark in understanding what eHealth is, what it can do, and why and how it should be applied to health care today. Many of the documents are downloadable as free PDF files, although a charge is made for paper copies.
The Toolkit has 3 main parts, each divided into a number of chapters addressing specific issues:
Part 1: Establishing a national eHealth vision – with chapters including national contexts for eHealth, engaging with stakeholders, drafting an initial vision, and gathering information on the eHealth environment.
Part 2: Developing a national eHealth action plan – with chapters including developing eHealth action lines, determining high-level resource requirements, applying funding constraints to refine plans, and defining implementation phases.
Part 3: Monitoring and evaluation – with chapters including developing an eHealth monitoring and evaluation framework, defining baseline and target measures for indicators, and defining supporting governance and processes.
Colleagues accessing these materials may also wish to explore the workshop materials of the Joint ITU-WHO Workshop on e-Health Standards and Interoperability, held Geneva, 26-27 April 2012 – available at http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/Workshops-and-Seminars/e-Health/201204/Pages/default.aspx
A joint ITU-WHO workshop on “e-Health standards and Interoperability” was held at ITU headquarters in Geneva, 26-27 April. It gathered experts from the healthcare and ICT communities to discuss means of leveraging today’s advanced communications capabilities to achieve more efficient, cost-effective and equitable health services worldwide. IMIA participated in the workshop, and the IMIA CEO, Dr Peter Murray, chaired one of the discussion sessions.
A summary report on the workshop, together with links to presentations, is available via the ITU website – see http://bit.ly/KIvIHC
Actions were suggested to the various stakeholders, including:
Suggested ITU-WHO actions:
- Joint policy brief on the essentiality of standards and interoperability to the exchange of medical data, as well as outreach activities to educate policy-makers and business leaders on the relevance and application of e-health standards
- Creation of an e-health Working Group to advise ITU and WHO on steps to be taken in the future
- Collaborate with other Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) to create an information portal detailing all available healthcare standards and best practices in their application
- Coordinate with the new HL7 initiative on mobile e-health
- ITU and HL7 to develop a specification for the use of ITU-T X.1303 CAP specification within HL7 to deliver health warning messages
- Consider effective cost models for e-health standards licensing
- Collaborate in the development of a common e-health standards roadmap; ensuring no work is duplicated, and encouraging a converged view on the structure of data and information in the e-health context.
IMIA participated last week (April 26-27, 2012) in the Joint ITU-WHO Workshop on e-Health Standards and Interoperability held at ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Documents from the workshop, including presentations, are publicly available on the event website.
The key workshop objective was to start a dialogue towards a comprehensive roadmap on global standards development, interoperability, and adoption for enabling the sustainable development of e health services. The resulting programs could leverage resources from regions, countries, industry, and research institutions, and provide a solid platform for harnessing future innovations within specific national e-health roadmaps.
The background paper: ITU TechWatch Report “E-health Standards and Interoperability“, by Laura DeNardis, American University in Washington, DC, USA, will be of particular interest.
Reports and other outputs from the meeting will be produced.