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call for input | Special Procedures

Digital innovation, technologies and the right to health

Issued by

Special Procedures

Deadline

15 November 2022

Purpose: To inform the Special Rapporteur’s forthcoming report to the Human Rights Council

Background

Within the framework of Human Rights Council resolution 42/16, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, has identified digital innovation, technologies and the right to health as one of her priorities during her tenure (See A/HRC/47/28 paras 78-86). In compliance with her mandate and in line with this priority, she has decided to devote her next thematic report to the Human Rights Council, to be held in June 2023, to this theme.

Objectives

The Special Rapporteur underlines that technological developments in health care have proven to be an instrumental element in the provision of health care and have improved people’s quality of life. She acknowledges that innovation and digital technologies have improved ability to store, share and analyse health information, increased provider capabilities and enhanced patient access to health-care services, of which some have been instrumental to handling, inter alia, the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, while new technologies and artificial intelligence could transform weak health systems in low-resource settings, there are legitimate concerns about human rights abuses that digital technologies enable in the area of health care, for example on issues related to privacy, equality and autonomy, with greater risks for youth, marginalised people, and criminalised groups.

In the forthcoming report, the Special Rapporteur intends to consider the benefits of increased use of digital technologies in the planning and delivery of health information, services and care, as well as the extent to which digital technologies may open or restrict access to specific groups. She will also focus, inter alia, on the possible positive and negative effects of artificial intelligence, as well as on the effects of the rise of web platforms and social media, on access to health information and services. She will also consider racism, embedded in the global health-care system, which makes digital health-care solutions susceptible to absorbing those same faults.

In so doing, and by adopting the anti-coloniality1 and anti-racism frameworks, the report will focus on factors that need attention to achieve equitable digital health, which include accessibility, affordability, acceptability and quality, among others.

Key questions and types of input/comments sought

The questionnaire can be downloaded below in English (original language), French and Spanish (unofficial translations). Responses can address some of the questions or all of them, as feasible or preferred.

Download the questionnaire (PDF):
English | Français | Español

How inputs will be used

Please note that all responses will be published on the official webpage of the Special Rapporteur by default unless it is indicated that the submission and/or the supporting documentation should be kept confidential.

Next Steps

Input/comments may be sent by e-mail/fax/postal mail. They must be received by 15 November 2022 18:00 CEST.

Email address:
[email protected]

Email subject line:
Contribution to HRC report – SR right to health

Word limit:
750 words per question

File formats:
Word, PDF

Accepted languages:
English, Spanish, French