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Launch of WHO Classification of Digital Health Interventions v1.0

By Garrett Mehl | 25 Apr, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Apologies for the cross posting.

It gives me great pleasure to Announce the Launch of the World Health Organization Classification of Digital Health Interventions v1.0: A shared language to describe the uses of digital technology for health.

Please find PDF versions of the publication and associated classifications “poster” here:

The classification of digital health interventions (DHIs) categorizes the different ways in which digital and mobile technologies are being used to support health system needs. Targeted primarily at public health audiences, this Classification framework aims to promote an accessible and bridging language between technologists and those in health, to facilitate discussions and ways of articulating needs, as well as to describe functionalities represented in digital health system implementations. This document serves as a prelude to the upcoming WHO Guidelines on Digital Health Interventions for Health Systems, providing the underlying framework of units for evidence analysis and synthesis, and upon which formal recommendations will be made. Furthermore, the classification content aligns with the structure of the global registry of technology implementations for health, the Digital Health Atlas — www.digitalhealthatlas.org — for registering, monitoring, and inventorying digital solutions and implementations within countries.

The WHO Classifications of Digital Health Interventions v1.0 is the result of a multi-year process of development and refinement guided by a panel of global experts, including those from the Health Data Collaborative Digital Health and Interoperability Working Group. WHO is grateful for their extensive contributions that led to this release. As this is a versioned document, we encourage those with recommended improvements and additions, to please provide feedback to Dr Garrett Mehl () and Tigest Tamrat (). Periodically, new versions will be released.

We hope the Classifications document brings greater clarity of understanding among the diversity of stakeholders who contribute to ensuring the benefits of digital health are for all.

On behalf of staff from the WHO Departments of Reproductive Health and Research and Department of Service Delivery and Safety who coordinated the development of the document. Thank you,


Garrett Mehl, PhD, MHS
Scientist, Digital Health Research
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

Attached resources:



Ademola Ade-Serrano Replied at 8:46 AM, 25 Apr 2018

Good day, Dr. Garrett Mehl

Great classification! It is quite exhaustive and comprehensive.

We worked on a similar classification at the PharmAccess Foundation last
year which was also an extended version of Dr. Labrique's classification,
and was targeted primarily at *private* health providers. It is no surprise
that both systems share similar indicators.

Would there be a need to individually classify interventions that deal with

- patient transportation (such as *Uber Health *and some other similar
local interventions in Africa),
- legal and regulatory compliance (separated from clinical compliance
- and possibly, digital occupational health and safety interventions?

I am also of the opinion that programs which provide digital infrastructure
(modems, routers, access points, etc.) for the health industry should also
be tracked and monitored. Though, they are not strictly digital health
interventions, it is necessary to catalogue these particular programs which
provide the foundation on which all other digital health interventions are

All told, this is a very comprehensive and in-depth classification system,
and I shall definitely recommend that we migrate to it as soon as possible.

Thanks again.

Steven Wanyee Macharia Replied at 1:34 AM, 26 Apr 2018

Thanks Garret! (hi Tigest!).

This release is very timely particularly for us in Kenya as we are currently in the initial phase of establishing the DHA (data collection about to start), and we are also conducting a landscape analysis for establishment of the Kenya Health Observatory.

I look forward to connect with you folks soon!

Lawrence Kwaghga Replied at 1:42 AM, 26 Apr 2018

Great news, thanks for the update.

Mei Lin Fung Replied at 1:55 AM, 26 Apr 2018

this update was important for the People Centered Internet - because being
people centered starts with personal well being and health

The taxonomy and classification of digital health interventions provides a
valuable common language for this new frontier of digital health - which we
are exploring (and taming) together learning from each other and sharing
lessons learned from trial and error

Mei Lin Fung
Organizer, People Centered Internet <http://www.peoplecentered.net/>,
co-founded with Vint Cerf
External advisor to the Stanford Center for Population Health Science
Member of the Global Future Council on Digital Economy and Society,
Economic Forum
Member of the Steering Committee, World Economic Forum, Internet for All
Vice Chair, Internet Inclusion, IEEE Internet Initiative

(e) ; <>
(t) meilinfung

A/Prof. Terry HANNAN Moderator Replied at 6:21 PM, 26 Apr 2018

Garret, thank you for the information and weblink. I copied it to the Members of my health Informatics College and a PhD student in New Zealand noted it and told me that it was exactly the materials he needed for his PhD study. Terry

Philip Craig Replied at 12:11 AM, 27 Apr 2018

Thank you from an in country expat volunteer here in Laos PDR.
I just happened to be assisting the Ministry of Health here on a Communication template for Public Health information, community based programs so the framework is both timely, user friendly, well structured and very comprehensive.
As I promote its use, here, it would be helpful to have some understanding of the process and authors to the 'Classification of Digital Health Interventions ' in order to 'credentialise' it.

Kind regards


Saad Hashmi Replied at 1:50 AM, 27 Apr 2018

Thanks for sharing the most valuable document. It is surely a snapshot of bridging the gaps according to the health system challenges.

Agbons Oaiya Replied at 4:20 AM, 27 Apr 2018

This is great information and very timely.

Steven Wanyee Macharia Replied at 12:46 PM, 13 May 2018

Garret, reading the publication again, there might be value in considering a grouping for Heath policy makers (and health legal experts). This group has different requirements from health managers and obviously serve different role as well. They will also benefit greatly from research for health generated evidence. Thus, a digital health intervention that helps to translate knowledge from scientific evidence (research for health) to inform practice, and from routine health service delivery that then informs priorities in research for health comprised of a unique group.

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