EuroHealthNet addresses WHO Regional Committee and calls for a digital health transition that is equitable
Today, EuroHealthNet addressed the WHO Regional Committee for Europe at its 72nd meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, delivering a joint statement on the draft Regional digital health action plan. As a recognised Non-State Actor (NSA), EuroHealthNet expressed support for the plan, and offered recommendations to further promote successful and equitable uptake and diffusion of digital health systems and solutions.
The WHO Regional digital health action plan has great potential to steer the digital transformation in a way that supports health system sustainability, promotes health equity and protects privacy. However, without mindful and balanced implementation, the transition risks leaving people behind and exacerbating health inequalities. That is why advancing digital health literacy is fundamental to successful and equitable uptake and diffusion of digital health systems and solutions across society;
EuroHealthNet, in a statement endorsed by 28 other NSAs, recommends that the strategy further elaborates on four elements:
- The up- and reskilling of the health workforce to implement digital transitions;
- Creating digital health governance mechanisms to safeguard privacy and trust;
- Providing guidance for engaging with industry and establishing labelling and certification schemes to help the public identify trustworthy tools;
- Standardisation of digital tools and technologies to ensure accessibility, transferability, and integration.
If properly designed and implemented, digital health infrastructures can strengthen the link between health and social services and drive social innovation, facilitating a intersectional approach to health. The EuroHealthNet Partnership stands ready to assist WHO Europe Member States as they implement the digital action plan, offering expertise and opportunities for exchange.
Prof. Dr. Martin Dietrich
President of EuroHealthNet and Acting Director of the German Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA)
If managed well, the digital transition can increase access to care and support both recipients and providers, as well as facilitate a holistic and health-promoting approach to health and care. EuroHealthNet is committed to support the implementation of the WHO Regional health digital action plan and alignment with European Union initiatives. We call upon WHO Europe member states and partners across Europe and the globe to take advantage of all opportunities to translate the plan into action.
About the WHO 72nd Regional Committee Meeting for Europe
The 72nd session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe took place in Tel Aviv, Israel. It was the first full in-person governance meeting in the Region since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The meeting was an opportunity to reflect on progress so far and further steps needed to implement the European Programme of Work (EPW) 2020–2025 – “United Action for Better Health in Europe”.
EuroHealthNet was also involved in two other Non-State Actor statements:
- Joint statement by EUPHA, EuroHealthNet and other Non-State Actors on agenda item 4: “European regional action framework for behavioural and cultural insights for health, 2022–2027”
- Joint statement to the WHO Roadmap to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem in the WHO European Region 2022-2030
- Joint statement to the European Framework for Action on Alcohol 2022-2025