The Global Digital Health Partnership is a collaboration of 30 countries and territories and the World Health Organization (31 members) formed to support the effective implementation of digital health, exchange global best practices, and advance mutually beneficial projects. The GDHP provides opportunities for worldwide participants to exchange best practices for data sharing, electronic health records, ePrescribing, patient access, etc. The GDHP’s vision is to “support governments and health system reformers to improve the health and well-being of their citizens through the best use of evidence-based digital technologies.” The GDHP is the world’s only existing government-to-government global health IT partnership, and the GDHP strives to identify international best practices for the use of health data to advance health and health care, provide opportunities for networking and knowledge transfer, and facilitate horizon scanning to more accurately forecast emerging trends. The GDHP was established in 2018 to fill the gap that existed where country governments were not working together as a whole to advance global digital health together.
In January 2018, HHS became a founding GDHP participant. ONC leads these efforts for the US and coordinates with US federal agencies to ensure the US position on digital health is aligned (e.g., HHS Chief Technology Officer’s Office, HHS Food and Drug Administration, HHS Office for Civil Rights, Department of Commerce). This multi-national organization supports governments and health system reformers to improve the health and wellbeing of their citizens through best use of digital technologies.
As of today, the GDHP participants range from 6 continents; 30 countries and territories that represent over 2.8 billion people; and the WHO.
As digital health continues to expand at a rapid pace globally, the GDHP continues to serve as a sounding board for digital health leaders and experts to collaborate on key topics. In the short time since its inception, the GDHP has reached great strides and is poised to continue advancing key elements of digital health that have short-and long-term benefits to strengthening health care systems worldwide. ONC will continue engaging with our global partners to share ideas and advance projects that help make health care around the world better, safer, and healthier.
The GDHP works through a variety of means, including through five work streams that convene to plan, share best practices, and create deliverables that help patients, caregivers, health care providers, health care systems, and national governments.
1. Interoperability Work Stream
- Overcome patient data sharing challenges between health care providers, health organizations, caregivers, and patients.
- Determine the path forward for addressing interoperability challenges through standards and technology.
2. Clinical and Consumer Engagement Work Stream
- Improve digital health literacy, and understand the role of co-design for patient and clinician needs for better health and care across the globe.
3. Cyber Security Work Stream
- Strengthen the protection of health care devices, systems and networks, and data in them, from security and cyber risks.
4. Policy Environments Work Stream
- Identify government’s role in supporting digital health technology for health system reform.
- Addressing privacy and consent issues when sharing patient health data.
5. Evidence and Evaluation Work Stream
- Share methods of digital health evaluation frameworks and concrete examples of lessons learned from digital health benefits evaluations and strategies.
ONC’s Role with the GDHP
The HHS Secretary designated ONC to serve as the lead US representative to the GDHP with participation from the HHS Office of the Chief Technology Officer. ONC’s National Coordinator for Health IT (National Coordinator) chairs the GDHP Interoperability Work Stream and facilitates key discussions and projects to advance interoperability across the GDHP countries and territories. The National Coordinator has led exercises, such as developing a health data standards crosswalk across the GDHP participant countries and territories, to better understand the interoperability landscape that nations use. There are also ONC leads on each of the remaining four work streams to ensure the US’ perspective, efforts, and expertise is included in those work streams’ deliverables and discussions.
GDHP White Papers
In 2019, all five GDHP work streams developed separate white papers in their subject matter areas to share country and territory experiences. The white papers outlined the landscape of the GDHP participants’ in digital health interoperability, cyber security, policy environments, clinical and consumer engagement, and evidence and evaluation. These white papers provide GDHP and non-GDHP countries and territories with guidance on key digital health projects, best practices, and opportunities that can lead the world to improving the health and well-being of people around the world.
- Interoperability Work Stream: Connected Health: Empowering Health through Interoperability
- Clinical and Consumer Work Stream: Clinical Engagement in Digital Health
- Cyber Security Work Stream: Securing Digital Health
- Policy Environments Work Stream: Improving Health Insights
- Evidence and Evaluation Work Stream: Measuring Benefits
Interoperability Work Stream: Health Data Standards Crosswalk
The ONC National Coordinator for Health IT directed an exercise for this work stream to develop a health data standards crosswalk that identifies each of the health data standards countries and territories are using so the viewer can easily compare and contrast. Not all countries and territories provided responses for this crosswalk.
|HL7® v2||HL7® v3||HL7 CDA®||HL7 FHIR®||IHE||OpenEHR||ISO||ICD (9 / 10 / 11)||SNOMED CT||LOINC||DICOM|
|Hong Kong SAR||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Kingdom of Saudi Arabia||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Republic of Korea||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Total Countries/ Territories Using||19||16||17||17||17||4||10||21||19||16||18|
Cyber Security Work Stream Medical Device Manufacturers Internet of Things (IoT) Code of Conduct
ONC, on behalf of the Cyber Security work stream, hosted a webinar in February 2020 on the IoT Code of Conduct. This Conduct enumerates cyber security best practices for medical device manufacturers with the goal of providing baseline guidance, recommendations, and considerations.
ONC solicited feedback through a public comment period (ended on March 31, 2020) to mature the final guidelines for medical manufacturers. Learn more about this effort and submit your comments on the Code of Conduct here.
GDHP summits are an opportunity for the participants to convene for face-to-face brainstorming sessions, exchanging subject matter expertise, and discussing health IT topics in a direct manner through government-to-government means. The first GDHP summit was held in Canberra, Australia in 2018. This inaugural summit established the activities of the five work streams and the first set of deliverables. Subsequent summits in the US, the UK, India, and Hong Kong SAR provided a regular platform for collaboration and facilitated the development of white papers and other projects.