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Invitation to contribute your priorities to WHO Guidelines on digital interventions for health systems strengthening and RMNCAH

By Garrett Mehl | 09 Dec, 2016

Dear Health IT Colleagues,

This is an invitation to contribute your voice into the development of World Health Organization Guidelines on the use of digital tools for health systems strengthening. Please note that we ask that you submit your responses to this follow-up survey by Tuesday, December 20th. This survey will take approximately 10 minutes, and your inputs will provide valuable insights for prioritization the specific digital interventions that should be addressed in the upcoming guidelines. This is the second (refined) phase of prioritization of topics following expert review in September, and will serve as the basis for the development of the systematic reviews that will lead to WHO Guidance being released in 2017.

Link to the survey: http://bit.ly/Digital_Guideline

The World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health (RHR) and Research formally initiated the process of developing Guidelines featuring evidence-based recommendations on the use of digital strategies to improve health systems including those serving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH), and accountability mechanisms. This guideline development comes as an explicit response to requests from UN member states Ministries of Health for WHO to develop formal guidance on determining which digital health strategies are evidence-based and offer comparative value. Recommendations emerging from this Guideline are intended to support National objectives including those reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and serve as a resource to the Health Data Collaborative mechanism.
As part of the Guideline development process, key research questions have been drafted as areas for further examination on the evidence supporting the use of digital strategies for RMNCAH. Although these questions have been refined through a consultative process with an WHO advisory group and previous survey feedback, would would like to provide a final opportunity to rank and prioritize questions that should be addressed in the upcoming Guideline.
Thank you in advance for your valuable contributions to this survey and to the ongoing WHO Guideline development process.


Garrett Mehl, PhD, MHS
Department of Reproductive Health and Research, includes
HRP - the UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
Geneva 1211



Usman Raza Moderator Emeritus Replied at 6:35 PM, 9 Dec 2016

Hi Garrett,

These are great questions I think. I am wondering if you would consider
breaking the options down into two levels, to make it easier. Ordering 20
questions might be cognitively hard for many, and perhaps these can be
split up into main categories first? I am happy to assist if needed.

Derek Ritz Replied at 12:16 PM, 11 Dec 2016

Hi Garrett.

I'm happy to participate in the survey; thanks for circulating it. I'd also like to add into the discussion a work item from a few years ago, but which I hope can still be helpful. This draft document was circulated on the old "HUB" knowledge management portal. It was originally developed for the mHealth Alliance in 2011 as an mHealth-based Enterprise Architecture for MNCH.

Although some of the ideas/approaches are ones which should be revisited in the face of 5+ years of added experience, a number of them are (I think) still applicable and can inform our explorations as we move forward.

Warmest regards and happy holidays,


Attached resource:

paul johnson Replied at 7:51 AM, 12 Dec 2016


Derek and Garrett,

I have missed the start of this and cannot retrieve it. Details of the survey and Garrett's 20 questions would be welcome. Certainly a good idea to re-consider the me-health paper on MNCH 2011. Has there been any follow up on that comprehensive document, or are we asking what has changed and are the proposals (clearly laid out) still valid.?

Geoff Chan Replied at 5:10 PM, 12 Dec 2016

Hi Garrett and Usman,

I think Usman has made a good point about it potentially being challenging to rank 20 items. Breaking things down into categories can help but another approach that is commonly used in research priority setting (such as the CHNRI process) is to score each question against a set of criteria. This gives a way to focus on evaluating the questions one at a time on their merits (on the specified criteria) rather than trying to compare each question to all of the others.

I appreciate that at this point it may not make sense to change your survey but thought it might be helpful to share how other priority setting exercises approach this.

Attached resource:

paul johnson Replied at 2:15 AM, 9 Jan 2017

Hello Garrett and Derek,

This my third attempt to get a response on making contact on this topic. Can you help?

Paul Johnson MD

Somehow I have missed out on the start of this track, did not see the details of the survey, and have missed Garrett's twenty questions and cannot trace them; can they be resent please?. The suggestion that the . I would

Garrett Mehl Replied at 2:50 AM, 9 Jan 2017

Dear Paul,

Please find below the link to the survey.

Thanks very much for contributing your input.



paul johnson Replied at 1:33 PM, 28 Apr 2019

This document(s) is unique and valuable. I had wanted to respond to the state of the art of ‘consumer’ monitors and related research.- which is below par. The industry including Fitbit, Oura and number of others ‘offer’ collaboration after viewing one’s research protocols, but control sensor sampling (without disclosure as proprietary) and retain collaborative data in their respective clouds and make it difficult and/or costly to get any protection. In a number of cases their APP data is shared but not disclosed. Oura for example use proprietary scores (such as readiness scores using a list of unmeasured inputs 0-100% which they can and do change without warning; and HRV only as parasympathethic indices. Contextualized HRV is one of the most valuable ‘condition indices’, still poorly appreciated and used globally.

Fitbit disclose that they reduce sample rate of the ‘ECG/PPG’ available to collaborators.

These are just a few of many factors downgrading consumer monitoring-at a time when others such as HeartMath, Hexoskin get little or no mention.

As you will know there is burgeoning concern about the ethics of this area, including AI and ‘big data’.

Your division at WHO obviously has a major influence in these areas-especially as it targets the socially disadvantaged.

My review of the detail in your report and its related documents is being hampered by the loss of page indexing as one seeks parts of the reports. I am told this is attributable to these documents.
I would like to make a more systematic response.

It is possible that this should be addressed to others in your group, but I am unfamailiar with the office responsibilities.

Suffice to say I think there is much to compliment your initiative

Best wishes

Paul Johnson MD

True N-of-1 Pte. Ltd • 9010 Tampines St 93 • Singapore 528844 • Company Reg. 201820257W

paul johnson Replied at 2:45 AM, 29 Apr 2019

An associate from Maesot Health here has resolved the page number problem-he was familiar with it. So apologies for the inconvenience


True N-of-1 Pte. Ltd • 9010 Tampines St 93 • Singapore 528844 • Company Reg. 201820257W

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