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Joint ITU-WHO Workshop on e-Health Standards and Interoperability
Geneva, 26-27 April 2012 Contact:

Across the world, health services and systems are changing to reflect the need for improvements in the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of care. E Health has already demonstrated its value and contribution to enabling these changes. As countries adopt e Health, they will need to integrate a patchwork of legacy systems with medical devices and information systems. At the same time, they will need to ensure there is a foundation on which stakeholders can innovate, since e Health can only meet its potential for achieving seamless, personalized and integrated care if based on open, global common and interoperable standards.

Much has already been done towards the development of e health standards and frameworks for interoperability, yet full implementation has not been achieved. Moving forward, understanding the work still required and the role of all stakeholders will contribute to better use of resources and more focused work to fill the gaps. In addition, a clear e-health policy and strategic framework is needed to guide the development of an enabling and sustainable environment.

Towards that end, ITU and WHO are inviting organizations working on health standards and other stakeholders to a workshop, in Geneva, 26-27 April 2012, to take stock of efforts to date, discuss barriers to adoption, and contribute to an ITU-WHO developed roadmap to guide future action.

A background document and presentations will guide the discussions during the event.

The key workshop objective is to start a dialogue towards a comprehensive roadmap on global standards development, interoperability, and adoption for enabling the sustainable development of e health services.

The resulting programs could leverage resources from regions, countries, industry, and research institutions, and provide a solid platform for harnessing future innovations within specific national e health roadmaps.

The specific objectives of the Workshop are:
  1. Learn about different priorities of member states – low-, middle- and high-income countries; and identify common threads amongst identified priorities / needs.
  2. Share experience gained from programs and pilots – needs, outcomes, barriers and next steps. This could be used to define specific use cases for which standards should be adopted, and to identify key elements of an e health service architecture/framework specification.
  3. Identify barriers to broad adoption of successful initiatives: A diagnosis and deep understanding of why standards are not used/applied in certain settings.
  4. Assess transformative opportunities: Share advances in innovation that can transform delivery of healthcare (3-7 years). These include advances in mobile devices, portable medical devices, re-engineered healthcare workflows, clinical decision support systems, new business models, and novel distribution / logistics strategies in the supply-chain.
  5. To identify future needs, roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in advancing e-health standards.
Target audience

All relevant stakeholders, inter alia:

  • Organizations developing standards applicable to e Health, such as ITU, WHO, ISO, CEN, Continua Health Alliance, HL7, RSNA (DICOM), IEEE, IHTSDO, IHE
  • Academic institutions, research centres and laboratories
  • Funding agencies (e.g. USAID, CIDA, World Bank)
  • Private companies, industry associations, individual entrepreneurs
  • OECD and Regional Economic Organizations (EC, APEC, UN ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA, etc)
  • Healthcare associations
  • National governments and regional bodies



 General Information

 Practical Information

Remote participation

  • Step one: indicate you are attending remotely when you register online
  • Step two: On the day and time of the workshop, proceed to the Adobe Connect meeting room

    NOTE: Joining on an ad hoc basis as guest is possible by proceeding to the Adobe Connect meeting room on the day of the event and providing your full name and country.
  • See the ITU-T FAQ page for more information on Adobe Connect remote participation

 Related Topics, Study Groups, Organizations

 Convening Letter, Registration and Programme

Background paper

  • ITU TechWatch Report "E-health Standards and Interoperability", Laura DeNardis, American University in Washington, DC, USA, April 2012

Author's corner

Organized by: