The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new guidelines on “person-centred” HIV strategic information as part of its latest policy brief on digital health data.

The guidelines are meant to help countries improve the ways in which routine patient data are collected, analysed and used.

They also proposed a “minimum dataset that captures key events in an individual’s interaction with the health system, put forward priority indicators for monitoring a persons health and make key recommendations for data systems and data use,” the policy brief said.

In addition to the broader development of digital health data systems, the guidelines look specifically at HIV prevention, testing and treatment, HIV-related infections and the use of routine surveillance to measure programme impact and supplement routine patient data with data from other sources.

The brief also calls for “systematic” investment in digital systems. It also notes that while interoperability is often viewed through a technical prism having to do with standards for writing and structuring data, terminologies and technical standards used in data exchange, organisational interoperability is increasingly important.

This aspect of interoperability focuses on governance, organisational goals and standards through the use of national strategy documents.

The policy briefing was the first of two digital health data announcements the global health body released at the end of 2023.

Also in December, WHO/Europe and the European Commission also signed a EUR12 million partnership to strengthen health information systems and boost health data governance and interoperability in the WHO European region.

The four-year project, which will support nearly one billion people living across the 53 countries in the region, aims to improve the use and reuse of health data by healthcare providers, policymakers and patients, and to improve the quality and interoperability of health information systems.

It will include the establishment of a Health Information Network, a network of countries engaged in collaborative decision-making, meaningful dialogue and knowledge exchange. The project is funded under the EU4HEALTH programme.

Work elsehwere is being done to fight HIV. In April last year, sexual health software provider Inform Health is announcing a series of enhancements to its HIV offering designed to save clinic resources and improve patient experience.