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New ITU standard enables health data exchange

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The International Communications Union (ITU) has offered first stage approval to an important specification enabling an exchange of multimedia health data between a health provider and a patient.[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General “]“In addition to technical issues, discussions on e-health encompass legal, ethical, cultural, economic and regional aspects. We have seen increased impetus by the e-health community to engage with ITU in order to facilitate a rapid rollout of these technologies that have such a valuable role to play in bolstering global health initiatives.” [/blockquote]

The approval is a result of calls for increased global coordination of standards enabling e-health according to ITU which said that the new standard will enable different e-health systems to smoothly exchange patient health data in both low- and high-resource settings, which makes it ideal for applications in both developed and developing countries.

Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General noted, “In addition to technical issues, discussions on e-health encompass legal, ethical, cultural, economic and regional aspects. We have seen increased impetus by the e-health community to engage with ITU in order to facilitate a rapid rollout of these technologies that have such a valuable role to play in bolstering global health initiatives.”

The development of Recommendation ITU-T H.860, “Multimedia e-health data exchange services: Architecture, services and data dictionary” was led by ITU Member Platform Health, a non-profit organization, based on successful reference implementations in a range of countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Masahito Kawamori, rapporteur says “We would not have been able to make such rapid progress without the opportunities for networking and discussions at the two WHO Forums on Health Data Standardization and Interoperability in which ITU was an active participant. ITU-T H.860 will also contribute to the ongoing work of the WHO Health Systems and Innovation Cluster.”

The common health schema of Recommendation ITU-T H.860 is applicable to a wide spectrum of diseases (non-communicable, communicable, maternal/child, trauma, etc.), interventions (preventive, curative, palliative), and health IT systems (from simple standalone, to integrated care, web services and mobile applications), ITU says.

 

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Kayode Oladeinde Technology Journalist at Technology Times. Mobile: +234 (0) 7031526929

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