A consensus statement has been published that aims to support public health to overcome future pandemics more effectively
After engaging diverse stakeholder groups across multiple sectors, a consensus has been reached on how best to deploy digital health and data and support public health in an integrated manner to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics.
The consensus, published in JAMA Network Open, addresses high-priority questions within five themes: team, transparency and trust, technology, techquity (decreasing inequities in digital health capability and access), and transformation.
The evidence used to reach consensus was from the presentations of various interest groups and experts that were not members of the decision-making group and database searches for relevant articles, and can be regarded as level 5 evidence, the authors stated.
The main recommendations can be summarised as follows:
- Implement protocols for clear and effective communication
- Confront the propagation of misinformation or disinformation
- Implement a standard global minimum data set for public health data
- Ensure that countries prioritise digital health
- Enable healthcare organisations to collect high-quality data
- Cultivate a healthcare workforce with knowledge in digital technologies
- Ensure surveillance systems respect privacy
- Maintain, continue to fund, and innovate surveillance systems.
If followed, the guidance provided in the consensus statement would lay the foundation for much greater resilience to future pandemics.
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