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Bridging the gap between digital innovation and clinical, patient and citizen need

12 September 2017

Digital transformation has led to a healthy disruption for consumers

The digital revolution and technology transformation is a well-trodden path in the private sector. The life enhancing flexibility and convenience offered through digital technologies has seen a real shift in the way people are choosing to transact.  The common denominator is arguably the ‘customer-centric’ business models and user-centered design techniques delivered through the convenience of ubiquitous mobile technologies. Consumers are voting with their fingers rather than their feet, choosing to transact via mobile apps rather than retail parks and high streets.

Consumer demand for mHealth is widely reported

mHealth has enjoyed continued growth with around 170,000 health and wellbeing apps available and around 1 in 7 people using wearable devices such as fitness trackers, there is little to question the consumer demand. So, the consumer appetite exists, but the key question from a patient and clinical user of Health Apps and Wearables is “will this work for me”.  As with many digital services, the consumer can choose to try services or rely on consumer recommendation to decide which product or service they prefer.  For Health Apps and Wearables, the missing link is the expert review from a trusted brand to help signpost the most appropriate and effective digital tools to help address health and social care needs.  This becomes a vital requirement when it comes to integration of mHealth Apps & Wearables into the healthcare system.

Leveraging market innovation in the NHS

With an already buoyant mHealth marketplace providing a direct route to market via Apps Stores, leveraging existing technical capability offers up the opportunity to source and refine existing apps that already provide choice, variety and volume.  Introducing NHS national standards & clinical effectiveness reviews to existing and relevant Health Apps creates an accelerated roadmap to connect patients, citizens and healthcare professionals to technology that has already been built and deployed.  The vital link is the required NHS clinical and patient expertise to select and showcase those apps that are proven to be effective. That’s when market innovation, regulation and health and social care needs align to provide a powerful NHS proposition.

Setting up for the future

The 3 key elements that we will be focusing on within the Apps and Wearables programme are:

  1. Leverage market innovation and create a path to approval for Developers/Vendors
  2. Build a clear set of national standards and frameworks for mHealth Digital Tools
  3. Fuse market innovation and health and social care expertise to address the specific patient needs

Building a proposition around market innovation, national controls and standards and mapping out patient needs brings the key skills and expertise required to create a compelling vision for mHealth in the NHS.

Last edited: 11 September 2018 10:10 am