The scarcity of evidence in digital health requires that the global digital health community adopt a more deliberate and coordinated approach to identifying and addressing gaps in research, perhaps as part of a global plan of action guided by the needs of different stakeholders, mainly ministries of health. The Digital Health Guidelines followed the WHO framework from evidence to decision7 and systematically took advantage of existing evidence and expert opinions on nine emerging priority digital innovations aimed at strengthening health systems. With this in mind, WHO has led the development of digital adaptation kits (DAK) to package WHO guidelines and operational resources in a standardized format that provides a common language to several audiences, including health program managers, software developers and implementers of digital systems. Given the unavoidability of digitized health systems, it is important that future revisions and expansions of these guidelines can provide evidence-based pathways for the implementation and scale of digital health interventions.
The WHO publishes the first guideline on digital health interventions and other publications on digital health. Given the fundamental role that digital health can play in supporting health systems, especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, these guidelines can help provide a roadmap for governments and policy makers to introduce and expand digital health interventions to support population health outcomes. As countries invest more and more in digital technologies for health, WHO member states and their implementing partners need guidelines to help countries more efficiently and accurately adopt WHO health and data recommendations through digital systems.