RESOLUTION YHC 312

FORUM: YOUTH & HEALTH COMMITTEE

QUESTION OF: The use and supervision of digital tools and platforms to respond to a health crisis

SUBMITTED BY: New Zealand

CO-SUBMITTERS:Belgium, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Greece, Holy See, Iceland, ITALY, Lebanon, Myanmar, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Tanzania, United Rep., Ukraine.

STATUSPassed

FORUM: Youth and Health Committee 

QUESTION OF: The question of the use and supervision of digital tools and platforms to respond to a health 

MAIN SUBMITTER: New Zealand

CO-SUBMITTERS:  Belgium, Chile, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Greece,  Holy See, Iceland, Italy, Lebanon, Myanmar, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Tanzania, Ukraine 

 

THE YOUTH AND HEALTH COMMITTEE,

 

Noting with satisfaction the past efforts of various relevant bodies and organizations, 

 

Stressing the fact that the United Nations faces the same issues regarding the current health crisis and that digital platforms and tools need reform, 

 

Defines eHealth as healthcare via the internet,

 

Supports the idea of Data harmonization and its usage in the database as a tool to gather more information for an individual.

 

Emphasizing on the fact that many LEDC’s do not have good internet connections or any connections at all and thus communication between them and medical professionals would be a challenge, 

 

Viewing with appreciation, that in 2015 Fittbit and Misfit, two consumer electronics companies, created their first mass-produced wearable devices that collect health data,

 

Noting that digital tools and systems (Electronic medical records, Telemedicine, Epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, among others, all of them collectively covered by the term E-health) are considered basic elements to promote health care quality and performance,

 

Considering the crucial role that E-health can play to conform an informed, evidence-based and rapid health and social response to public health emergencies and health crises,

 

Aware of the challenges that, by the very nature of the E-health digital tools and platforms and the personal records they keep, like the privacy, confidentiality and safety of personal health data, they present for their deployment and public acceptance,

 

Concerned that the diversity of regulation across countries and the differences in power and capacity of the different digital technologies and tools, presents ethical concerns (for privacy, discrimination and mass surveillance) and the risk of public mistrust and low acceptance,

 

Alarmed by the pressure to override privacy rules and laws in the deployment and use of mobile telephone trace apps in the COVID-19 pandemic, under the excuse of the urgency of the situation and the need to quickly analyze and share information,

 

Affirming the contents of WHO Report EB 142/20 and Resolution WHA71.7 of November 2017 on the “Use of appropriate digital technologies for public health” presents the contributions of digital tools to universal health, and Report A/HRC/39/29 of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights presented at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council on the right to privacy in the digital age,

 

  1. Urges member states to develop, as appropriate, legislation and data protection policies:
    1. Around issues such as data access, sharing, consent, security, privacy, and inclusivity consistent with international human rights obligations and to communicate these on a voluntary basis to WHO for the purpose of:
      1. Creating worldwide statistics to account for the efficiency of such legislations
      2. Requesting additional funding for the implementation of such legislation
      3. Requesting specific intervention from the WHO department of Digital Health
      4. Legal repercussions for data protection negligence by companies, and data theft by individuals with special attention given to sensitive health documents,
    1. implementing websites in collaboration with the UN and other relevant organizations, allowing citizens to be better informed about the software, with easy to read summaries of terms and conditions, which is processing their private healthcare information, through:
      i) authentication by qualified lawyers, programmers, and security experts who analyze popular digital healthcare services and study their terms, conditions, and privacy policies
      ii) rating apps and services according to their level of privacy, with justification of rating provided,
      iii) highlighting important privacy-related clauses from the terms, conditions, and privacy policies that individuals may not notice or read;
  1. Encourages member states to promote international and multisectoral collaborations within the health sector and authorities:
    1. Which will coordinate international authorities and/or authorities from specific countries to supervise the implementation of the policies closely, in the hope of complying with the legislation on data access and sharing 
    2. with a view to improving the medical staff-patient coordination in order to ensure the non dispersion of patients data and medical records by:
      1. Improving the firewalls and encryption on health apps that rely on patient-doctor contact such as but not limited to, Doctor on demand, Pager, Medicast
      2. All telemedicine will be monitored by designated authorities to ensure the safekeeping of the information shared 
      3. Investigating E-health app owners as soon as one case of leakage of information occur to ensure the safety of the person’s data and no further breach of the policies;
    3. depending on the subject the collaboration is based on, the coaction would be further supervised by different departments of the WHO and the UN such as:
      1. Digital technologies for non-communicable diseases 
      2. Digital technologies for sexual and reproductive health
      3. Any other WHO funded program responsible for digital technologies
      4. The UN digital blue helmets;
    4. Creating a UN-backed task force (UNPP) whose goal is to:
      1. Enforce data privacy laws
      2. Create adapted data privacy laws
      3. Mitigate data privacy conflict;

      3.Calls upon all member states to provide general and e-health targeted digital education to its citizens:

    1. through the implementation of eHealth targeted programs in middle and high schools which would be funded by the government in MEDCs and by the WHO health education department in LEDCs, for the purpose of:
      1. Raising awareness about the risks of unconscious use of eHealth
      2. Teaching students how to use E-health services properly and safely
      3. Providing students with statistics that promote the use of digital health
      4. Make the students aware of the benefits that eHealth provides especially in critical times like the Covid 19 pandemic;  
    2. By making professional development programs specifically to educate in E-health in health care centers and any health-related service obligatory: 
      1. these programs will be organized by the WHO digital technology department in collaboration with the local cyber authorities 
      2. the programs will provide workers with general directives on how to handle patient data obtained from the E-health apps correctly to ensure no leakage happens, 
      3. the programs will further emphasize the need for discretion on E-health apps for patient and doctor use, 
      4. persons contacting the health care system and voluntary giving their health data are well informed about its use and levels of access in the system
      5. health professionals are competent in the use of E-health technologies and understand their obligation to address information requests made by persons using the system
      6. promote public communication and awareness campaigns on the respect of personal data protection in the health system;

      4. Create governmental archives where necessary life long data like health records containing pre-existing conditions will be protected and            stored, while also destroying data that isn’t necessary and could be compromised after the necessary amount of time, for example,                      location data from tracer apps after the incubation period of the pathogen;

    1. Requests funding for new promising technologies to provide aspects of E-health in LEDCs as a form of crisis aid: 
      1. Starlink that could provide global although relatively low strength (still around 100x stronger than Loons) and low latency internet coverage 
      2. Loon LLC balloons provide very short term solutions for the most rural solutions but are able to provide a low strength internet coverage for a limited time,
      3. These services could provide
      4. Emergency telemedicine from experienced MEDC doctors
      5. Periodic uploads and downloads of E-health records to national/international databases from rural areas;
    2. Both of the aforementioned technologies are actually being developed commercially specifically by two very experienced tech giants, but they could still be funded/incentivized in various ways, they could:
      1. receive funding from the WHO, and other UN organizations
      2. tax breaks from their respective governments (if the US agrees)
      3. insurance from the UN
      4. receive scientific aid from the Commission on Science and Technology for Development new computer scientists and engineers form UN-sponsored university exchange programs from MEDC;

     5. Urges member states to focus on the establishment of telephone health resources by:

    1. Establishing  telehealth booths in places such as but not limited to:
      1. Public spaces
      2. Grocery stores
      3. Pharmacies;
    2. Creating a WHO funded phone line which will give the patient information about their condition
    3. Allowing the purchase of medical supplies and prescriptions for people living in rural areas
    4. Developing telemedicine apps, in the effort to help reduce the spread of any pathogens and therefore partially mitigate the spread of pandemics/epidemics through:
      1. Reducing patient contact for minor issues, elderly, people with chronic illnesses that don’t need constant medical attention,
      2.  Reducing the transmission from patient to patient in hospitals by reducing the present staff and personnel;

    6. Suggests the creation of a medical database, which will be protected by international/local data protection policies, where only authorized          patients and doctors can log onto, that stores information such as but not limited to: 

    1. The patient’s personal information (Name, age, date of birth etc.)
    2. The patient’s medical records such as:
      1.  allergies 
      2. Diagnoses
      3. medications 
      4. treatment plans
      5. immunization dates
      6. test results 
      7. The patients visit to the hospital or medical praxis prior to the pandemic and online video calls during the pandemic,
    3. The above-mentioned database’s privacy protection policies will be:
        1. accessed only through elaborate codes that are unknown to the government and will update every 30 seconds while new information is being added
        2. encrypted private communication between doctors and patients, which will not be recorded by any third party company
        3. Data transaction to be safer
        4. create a free local Virtual Private Network (VPN), which will encrypt personal data on third party websites while communication on them;

7. Calls for the WHO to create a new branch called the Health Digital Security and Compliance Committee (HDSCC) which would:

    1. manage the creation of a Universal Digital Health Security Framework (UDHSF) which would:
      1. serve as a recommendation for privacy and security laws that countries could implement to protect patients,
      2. serve as the laws that doctors from NGOs such as Amref Health Africa and Doctors Without Borders must operate under to provide e-healthcare in the absence of national or local laws,
    2. establish a bi-annual certification
      1. which recognizes digital technology companies who incorporate telehealth, ehealth, and other digital health tools that adhere to the security and interoperability standards established by the Health Digital Security and Compliance Committee (HDSCC).
      2. which grants being available to companies who follow these guidelines and make their tools available in LEDCs.