We live in the digital age. Digital technologies—including apps, wearables, analytics, artificial intelligence, connected sensors, and more— are profoundly reshaping the way we live and work. Likewise, such technologies are transforming health, medicine, wellness, and care.
The NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January 2019 by NHS England, set out a wide-ranging program to upgrade technology and digitally-enabled care across the NHS. In ten years’ time, the plan envisions an NHS in which people will be helped to stay well, recognize important symptoms early, and manage their own health, guided by digital tools. Clinicians will be able to interact with patient records and care plans wherever they are, with ready access to decision support and AI, without the administrative hassle of today. Care will be optimized for local populations. While data will be used to support consistent quality of care, eliminating unwanted variation across pathways of care.
The benefits of technology-enabled care include improved outcomes, promotion of patient independence, reduction in avoidable service use, better coordination of care, and high levels of patient satisfaction, amongst others. Globally, the need to adopt technology to deliver such gains, while simultaneously reducing cost and meeting continually rising levels of demand is well recognized.
However, healthcare continues to lag behind other industries in both adopting technology and adapting its service models to accommodate new ways of being. Meanwhile, from the human perspective (whether patient, carer, clinician, or professional), the success of digitally-enabled care is not only reliant upon effective technology but also upon the degree of adoption and digital engagement, both individually and collectively. A brilliant solution can only deliver great outcomes if it is used, action is taken, and a learning loop is established to refine and improve the action.
Today, healthcare organizations, staff, patients, and carers are all asking what it means to be digitally enabled. How do we enable individuals, organizations, and communities to be flexible, adaptable, and open to embracing change? How do we enable adoption and create digital engagement? How do we ensure that alerts are recognized and the appropriate action is taken? And how do we ensure solutions are appropriate in an age of information overload and technology overwhelm? Real-world solutions are needed around the globe.
Using insights from both healthcare and other industries, design and recommend an innovative approach or framework that enables digital adoption and increases digital engagement in healthcare, be that from a patient or staff perspective.