Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe)
What is the Global Observatory for eHealth?
eHealth is the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for health. It is recognised as one of the most rapidly growing areas in health today. However, limited systematic research has been carried out to inform eHealth policy and practice. This is why the Global Observatory for eHealth (GOe) is an important new initiative of the WHO.
Established in early 2005, the Observatory's mission is to improve health by providing Member States with strategic information and guidance on effective practices, policies and standards in eHealth.
The GOe will:
- provide timely and high-quality evidence and information to help national governments and international bodies improve policy, practice, and management of eHealth services;
- raise awareness and commitment of governments and the private sector to invest in, and advance, eHealth;
- collect, analyse and distil knowledge which will make a significant contribution to the improvement of health using ICT;
- publish an annual report, and special guidelines, on key eHealth research topics as a reference for governments and policy makers;
- build capacity in eHealth research, analysis and reporting in countries.
How does the GOe work?
The GOe secretariat is based at WHO headquarters in Geneva and holds regular teleconferences with WHO regional offices for project planning and implementation. A Strategic Advisory Group of Experts has also been established to draw on the knowledge and skills of eHealth experts world wide. The networked operation will grow rapidly to include research centres and collaborating partners across the globe.
How is the GOe collecting its information?
In 2005, the GOe will be conducting two surveys. As this is the first survey of the Global Observatory, and indeed the first WHO world wide survey on eHealth, it focuses on issues relating to processes and outcomes in key eHealth action lines previously identified by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and WHO.
The 3 prime objectives are to:
- describe and analyse the eHealth profiles in countries, regions and internationally;
- identify and evaluate measures taken in key action areas to support the development of eHealth in countries;
- establish the requirements of Member States for eHealth tools and services.
The second survey will be conducted in late 2005 and will build on the findings of the first survey. It will focus on less countries but will investigate eHealth questions in considerable detail.
The results of this work will be published in the first report of the Global Observatory for eHealth which will become an annual report. It will be launched at the World Health Assembly in May 2006.