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First evidence-based guide launched to put patients at heart of digital innovations

Produced by the University of Plymouth, the Academic Health Science Network and Boehringer Ingelheim, the guide follows the UK government’s plan to revolutionise digital health and social care


The University of Plymouth, the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and Boehringer Ingelheim have launched the first evidence-based recommendations to drive inclusive digital tech innovations, built on extensive patient input.

The launch follows the then health and social care secretary’s £2bn plan for digital health and social care, which encourages healthcare professionals (HCPs) to adopt new digital solutions to ‘free up time, resources and hospital beds’.

How to involve and engage patients in digital health tech innovation, An Evidence Based Guide sets out clear principles to involve the public in the initial development of digital health solutions to ensure patients are at the centre of digital transformation.

The patient-centric angle is a response to the COVID-19-driven surge in healthcare apps, with only 60% of innovators consulting patients before deciding to develop a new digital health tool, research by ORCHA found.

The resource also provides recommendations on processes to support ongoing product improvement, enabling innovators to continue to adapt their tech as patients are encouraged to become more active partners in their health.

Commenting on the guide, Matt Whitty, chief executive of the Accelerated Access Collaborative and director of Innovation, Research and Life Sciences, NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “Through research and innovation, we can improve patient outcomes and reduce health inequalities. Patient-centred digital technology is an increasingly important aspect of a dynamic and sustainable health system. By ensuring patients are involved in developing these digital technologies we will create solutions that best meet their needs.”

The four clear principles included in the guide are produced from a combination of a systematic literature review, advisory panels and multi-stakeholder input, and make recommendations about critical issues such as data privacy, intellectual property, inclusivity, reimbursement, usability and recruitment of patients for health technology entrepreneurs.

As well as helping with initial digital development, the guide also puts in place processes to support ongoing product improvement. By adopting the core principles set out in the guide, digital innovators can ‘continually evolve their product, better communicate its value to the system and improve patient trust in the technologies created’.

Richard Stubbs, vice-chair of the AHSN Network, said: “To drive true change in our healthcare system, a patient-centred approach must be at the heart. The guide makes key recommendations in this area. Simple steps such as building relationships with community leaders and influencers can help innovators engage with patients and families in under-represented demographics.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

6th July 2022

From: Healthcare



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