2023 Essential Diagnostics List from WHO published, with inclusion of personal glucose monitoring devices

The World Health Organisation has published its 2023 Essential Diagnostics List (EDL)  – an “evidence-based register of in vitro diagnostics (IVD) that supports countries to make national diagnostic choices” – which for the first time incorporates advice on the inclusion of personal use glucose monitoring devices for diabetes.

The WHO reports that this years’ list saw their Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on in vitro diagnostics review 12 applications, recommend the addition of eight in IVDs, and make “several edits to previously listed EDL tests, including IVDs for tuberculosis, HIV and diabetes mellitus”.

On diabetes, the list advises for the first time that personal glucose monitoring devices should be included alongside medical recommendations for diabetes already existing, highlighting that this “could lead to better disease management and reduced negative outcomes”.

Some of the other areas which have seen new tests introduced include endocrine disorders, reproductive health, maternal health, and cardiovascular health.

WHO says that the list, through not prescriptive, “has the potential to help countries with their plans to improve access to in vitro diagnostics by providing a policy framework to enable informed decision-making for national essential diagnostic lists”. The ambition is that these lists can then be used to improve testing services in the individual countries, leading in turn to “increased access to diagnostics and better patient outcomes”.

The WHO is reportedly offering advice and support to multiple countries across the globe in their efforts to develop national EDLs, including in the form of webinars, workshops and direct support.

Click here to find out more about the updated EDL.

In July, we reported that the WHO and Health Level Seven International (HL7) had signed a project collaboration agreement to support the adoption of open interoperability standards on a global level. Through the collaboration, WHO and HL7 aim to strengthen implementation of the WHO Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020-2025 at country level, building capacity to support adoption and “appropriate use of interoperability standards in Member States in an equitable manner”.

Also from the WHO, in August, the new Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) was announced, which will operate as a WHO-managed network and platform with the aim of supporting implementation of WHO’s global digital health strategy. The GIDH initiative sets out to encourage global partnerships; bringing organisations across the world together to “achieve measurable outcomes” by improving transparency and reporting of digital health resources.