Most recently, The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released guidance for digital health after performing a critical and in-depth review on the literature available. It has generated an overview on the benefits, harms, acceptability, feasibility, resource use and equity considerations of digital health interventions. It also provides insights for researchers engaged in designing, developing and validating the digital interventions. The guidelines are also foreseen to greatly impact the future research for digital applications.
It is certain that digital solutions support patients and physicians in achieving their medical goals. They have been also increasingly adopted in health care. However, data is lacking on the impact of digital applications on health care. As number and types of digital solutions increasing, there is an immediate requirement to develop evidence-based insights for the integration of these solutions in medical practices. This paper provides an overview of the guidelines and insights for researchers engaged in the development and validation of digital interventions. It also recommends that the digital tools should be developed and implemented in accordance with the principles of digital development. It extends guidance for building a supportive environment for better adoption of digital health.
Using digital means to complement the traditional education, in training and education of healthcare professionals is definitely recommended. However studies evaluating the validation of learning content are limited that makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions. Researchers need to be vigilant in using over increasing digital tools. Additionally, sustained efforts are demanded in the development of novel digital tools that could benefit both patient and physicians in health care.
Jandoo T. WHO guidance for digital health: What it means for researchers. Digit Health. 2020;6:2055207619898984. Published 2020 Jan 8. doi:10.1177/2055207619898984