The importance of public trust
Another important issue is governance. Surveys conducted by the European Commission have shown that most people are happy to share their health data, with the guarantee that information is only shared with those for whom it is intended. Ensuring full transparency of the use of patient data is fundamental, and initiatives such as Data Saves Lives are empowering patients to share their data with the confidence that their personal rights are being protected.
Clinical buy-in is also key: for new technologies to be properly utilised, we need a digitally trained workforce. Appropriate use of digital technologies, including communication to patients about digital approaches, needs to be part of the standard medical curriculum. The cultural shift this represents, for both clinicians and patients, should not be underestimated.
Data solutions need to help clinical practice, not create an additional burden. Data collected must be timely, clinically relevant and actionable for clinicians, supporting shared decision-making and informed consent while avoiding the collection of data for data’s sake. Most importantly, a one-size-fits-all approach to digital health must be avoided, so digitalisation can remedy existing health inequalities rather than exacerbate them.
We are at an exciting juncture on the path to digital healthcare. Collaboration between those developing digital innovations and all actors within the health ecosystem can forge a digitally enabled, person-centred, high-quality future health service, with benefits for all.
For more information, read the HPP think piece Digital health in the management of non-communicable diseases in the UK.
This blog was written by Matthew Hickey, Chief Executive Officer of The Health Value Alliance, and Suzanne Wait, Managing Director at The Health Policy Partnership.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of The Health Policy Partnership.