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ESMO Endorses Joint Statement to Support the ‘Regional Digital Health Action Plan for the WHO European Region’ at the 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe

15 Sep 2022

ESMO, together with 28 other organisations, endorsed a joint statement supporting the resolution on the ‘Regional digital health action plan for the WHO European Region’ at the 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, 12-14 September 2022 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Digital Health is a flagship project of WHO Europe’s ‘European Programme of Work’

The joint statement welcomes the action plan as well as its guiding principles and its vision to improve health outcomes for everyone, everywhere, equitably.

The joint statement calls for:

  • Mindful and balanced implementation, so that the digital transition does not leave people behind and exacerbate health inequalities
  • Addressing disruptions and a lack of capacity, training, and resources to ensure appropriate use of digital tools and technologies
  • Reinforcing access to, and health literature for, the use of digital tools that can greatly support health systems, improve prevention and care, and increase equity, particularly in dealing with the burden of NCDs and mental health problems and supporting healthy behaviours
  • Elaboration by WHO Europe of the following points:
    1. Focus on up- and reskilling the European health workforce to support implementation of digital transitions in health ecosystems at all levels, by ensuring availability of tools and resources, such as those developed by the new, EU-funded “BeWell” initiative.
    2. Clear digital health governance mechanisms to safeguard privacy and trust, and which also permit for meaningful and inclusive public and patient involvement in the digital health transformation and for consistent access to data for research across Member States.
    3. Providing guidance for engaging with industry and establishing labelling and certification schemes to help identify trustworthy digital health tools and applications, as done by the new “Label2Enable” project.
    4. Standardization of digital tools and technologies to foster greater accessibility, transferability, and integration, both across countries as well as sectors. Integration with digital social services and social service innovations is particularly critical.

The joint statement also stressed the need to align with the European Union’s strategies and actions on digital health, which include proposed legislation for a European Health Data Space.

All organisations endorsing the joint statement reaffirmed their commitment to support the plan’s implementation and called upon WHO Europe Member States and partners across Europe and the globe to take advantage of all opportunities to translate the digital health action plan into practice.

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