e-Health standardization has been on ITU-T’s agenda since 2003 and this work was given further impetus by the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-12)
in Dubai, UAE, 20-29 November 2012, which adopted Resolution 78 - Information and communication technology applications and standards for improved access to e-health
. This followed the Global Standards Symposium (GSS-12)
held the day preceding WTSA-12, 19 November 2012, where participants expressed the need for ITU to taking a leading role in the e-health field by building on its collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to create a global, open environment for the development and promotion of e-health standards.
Although an array of multimedia systems have emerged in support of e-health applications, in particular in the area of telemedicine*, the adoption and success of e-health and telemedicine applications will demand conformance with standards to increase interoperability among systems, safeguard privacy and security, and reduce the cost of devices through economies of scale.
ITU-T is developing standardized multimedia systems to support widespread deployment of e-health applications. The work is coordinated with ITU-D
and with organizations developing standards relating to e-health.
In addition to technical questions, discussions around e-health enfold a variety of fields (e.g. legal, ethical, cultural, economic, regional) and ITU-T’s international, consensus-driven processes thus provide the right environment to harmonize and coordinate the development of a set of open global standards for e-health applications.
*e-Health refers to the use of ICTs to support health needs, while telemedicine is considered the part of e-health where telecommunication systems allow the interconnection of remote locations to enable remote access to distant medical resources and expertise.