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WHO Executive Board recommends the adoption of standards for the exchange of health data

The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended to the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly the adoption of the resolution eHealth standardization and interoperability that 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 health data standards, in efforts to achieve a secure, timely and accurate exchange of data for health decision-making.

The resolution urges countries, as well, to consider developing policies and legislative mechanisms linked to an overall national eHealth strategy, in order to ensure compliance in the adoption of 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. Nowadays, globally, 72 national eHealth strategies and plans have been developed .

The Executive Board recognizes that, through standardized electronic data:

  • Health workers can gain access to fuller and more accurate information in electronic form on patients at the point of care;
  • Pharmacies can receive prescriptions electronically; laboratories can transmit test results electronically;
  • Imaging and diagnostic centres have access to high-quality digital images;Researchers can carry out clinical trials and analyze data with greater speed and accuracy;
  • Public health authorities have access to electronic reports on vital events in a timely manner, and can implement public health measures based on the analysis of health data;
  • Individuals can gain access to their personal medical information, which supports patient empowerment;
  • This proposal also requests the Director General, within existing resources, to provide support to Member States, as appropriate, in order to integrate the application of health data standards and interoperability in their national eHealth strategies through a multistakeholder and multisectoral approach.

The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO), made up of 34 delegates from WHO Member States, met at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on Jan. 21-29 to define the agenda for the upcoming 66th World Health Assembly (WHA), 20–28 May 2013.



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