Digital health in the management of non-communicable diseases in the UK

Greater integration of digital health can help the UK combat the growing burden of non‑communicable diseases, improving people’s quality of life.


People with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and clinicians can benefit from the application of digital technologies across all stages of prevention and care. Without integrating new innovations, enhancing the management of NCDs poses a significant economic and clinical challenge for health systems.

Digital health integration shows great promise for NCD management, with the potential to reduce reliance on in-person hospital visits and increase health system efficiency. However, efforts to digitally transform the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK have been impeded by barriers around interoperability, governance, a lack of agreement on common technologies and a paucity of public trust.

The NHS has a unique opportunity to enhance healthcare in the post-COVID-19 era. While the pandemic has exacerbated many challenges, it has also revolutionised service delivery through the rapid – and unprecedented – deployment of digital technologies.

Greater use of digital technologies could help ensure the future sustainability of the NHS and restore services to pre-pandemic levels by transitioning from a reactive to a proactive care model. Change of this scale will require a strategic, policy-led, whole-system approach, with consensus among all stakeholders.

What we’ve achieved

We developed a think piece on how the digital health agenda can be pushed forward to address the growing burden of NCDs. The report focuses on the UK, highlighting how digital innovation can be adopted more widely.

The HPP team researched, wrote and designed the report in which we outline potential approaches to fully integrating digital health into all aspects of the NHS, including:

  • involving people with NCDs in the design of remote monitoring services
  • preparing the current and future clinical workforce for greater use of digital technologies
  • promoting interoperability to improve data exchange, analysis and interpretation.

Key partners and stakeholders

The Health Policy Partnership developed this think piece with insights from the following contributors:

  • Aida Yousefi and the team at Huma
  • Matthew Hickey, The Health Value Alliance
  • Dr Matthew Knight, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Sir Bruce Keogh, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Rt Hon Alan Milburn

Project funding

This report is an independent think piece from HPP. We received no funding for this work.