WONCA and assessment of digital health


The World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA) is supporting family doctors / general practitioners across continents and cultures to enable accessible, safe and good quality healthcare for all people. WONCA is responsive to healthcare challenges and works continuously on improvement in collaboration with their members and partners. The latest developments in science and technology are essential for WONCA to support family medicine now and in the future.

Digital technology plays a pivotal role in the daily work of family doctors with patients and colleagues. Digital solutions can make healthcare services more timely, collaborative, efficient and tailored to the needs of people.

No method to evaluate digital health solutions through the eyes of family doctors existed and therefore WONCA, supported by its Working Party on eHealth, decided to develop a dedicated assessment framework. This framework includes 11 domains of evaluation: ranging from user aspects to healthcare system and ethical matters.

One of the world’s largest digital health platform from Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company Limited in China participated in testing of the assessment framework. Their Good Doctor AI Consultation System (PAGD), a digital service with an artificial intelligent (AI) based consultation for the assistance of online doctors, was evaluated.

The ratings according to the 11 domains were translated in outcomes along three dimensions relevant for family medicine: 1) whether PAGD system was scalable to other settings, countries and healthcare systems; 2) the comprehensiveness of the services provided, and: 3) the validity and available evidence, such as cost-effectiveness, of the PAGD services.

The evaluation showed that digital platforms as PAGD have a great potential to improve healthcare and support family doctors. The assessment framework is helpful in identifying the digital solution benefits, risks and areas for improvement.

After this successful pilot, WONCA continues the development of this digital health assessment framework with members and partners, including a number of our Working Parties and Special Interest Groups. The collaboration with Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company Limited and other companies will be continued.

Prof dr Nick Guldemond PhD DSc
Professor Integrated Care & Technology
IM Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University;
Researcher at Leiden University Medical Center

Dr Harris Lygidakis
Digital Heath Consultant and
WONCA CEO-designate

Dr Pramenda Prasad
Chair, Working Party on eHealth