HumanInsight What are Digital Public Health Interventions? First Steps Toward a Definition and an Intervention Classification Framework
J Med Internet Res. 2022 Jun 28;24(6):e31921. doi: 10.2196/31921.
Digital public health is an emerging field in population-based research and practice. The fast development of digital technologies provides a fundamentally new understanding of improving public health by using digitalization, especially in prevention and health promotion. The first step toward a better understanding of digital public health is to conceptualize the subject of the assessment by defining what digital public health interventions are. This is important, as one cannot evaluate tools if one does not know what precisely an intervention in this field can be. Therefore, this study aims to provide the first definition of digital public health interventions. We will merge leading models for public health functions by the World Health Organization, a framework for digital health technologies by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and a user-centered approach to intervention development. Together, they provide an overview of the functions and areas of use for digital public health interventions. Nevertheless, one must keep in mind that public health functions can differ among different health care systems, limiting our new framework's universal validity. We conclude that a digital public health intervention should address essential public health functions through digital means. Furthermore, it should include members of the target group in the development process to improve social acceptance and achieve a population health impact.
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