How can digital health play a part in providing high quality care for those with a long term condition? by Dr Ian Briggs on 16th February 2016
NHS England are running an initiative aiming to enhance the quality of life for the 15.4 million people in England living with a long term condition. The Long Term Conditions Improvement Programme works to deliver high quality person centred care for people with long term conditions, based on a service improvement approach.
In an interview with NHS England I shared my advice and expertise, reflecting on the NHS Health Call INR self-testing service. These are my 7 key tips that I would give other health and care economies looking to embark on a similar programme of work:
- Allow NHS and care partners local design flexibility to fit digital support to local problem requirements and opportunities – but don’t ‘do’ digital for the sake of it.
- Organisation support and commitments. Recognising digital enablement is about cultural shifts in those delivering and receiving care services.
- Integrate information into clinical systems, and use the NHS number as a data tag. Standalone telehealth digital systems are not sustainable, there’s got to be integration.
- Bridge the digital divide. It’s about offering access and choice to people. Ensure your offering can fit the needs of the vast majority of the population, not just the tech savvy among us.
- Keep it as simple as possible and minimise cost. Offer a range of choices on how people can link and access services. For those delivering care don’t add additional work or complexity to busy people’s lives by simple adding digital / telehealth systems on top of existing pathways or processes. These approaches need to reduce workload and bureaucracy wherever possible.
- Governance both clinical and information should never be compromised!
- Evaluate from the start and use the feedback to continuously improve.