ITU standard to enable e-health interoperability

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 17 March, 2014

ITU standard to enable e-health interoperability

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has given first-stage approval to a new standard covering the exchange of health-care data between different e-health systems.

The ITU-T-H.860 specification is being designed to enable the interoperability of e-health systems in both emerging markets and developed countries.

It will encompass a common health-data definition as well as providing for interconnectivity across both consumer and point-of-care e-health devices and back-end systems used to manage the data. It is designed to apply to a range of systems including simple stand-alone applications and mobile health apps.

Development of the new standard was led by non-profit organisation Platform Health, an ITU member. The organisation conducted a series of trial implementations in the Middle East, Asia and Africa to help set the specification.

ITU secretary-general Hamadoun I Touré said this approval marks an accelerated push for e-health standards. “In addition to technical issues, discussions on e-health encompass legal, ethical, cultural, economic and regional aspects,” he said.

“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.”

Image courtesy of Health Gauge under CC

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