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Innovations in Patient Care 2024

True digital health solutions establish patient-centric care

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Andrew Davies

Executive Director, Digital Health, ABHI

Our healthcare requirements, and therefore demands of the NHS, continue to evolve. As we live longer and manage more long-term conditions, the need for health services and care access increases.

The challenge of supporting increasing and individual demands, without overwhelming the fragile NHS, is perhaps our biggest health challenge.

Leveraging digital health solutions

Digital health is one solution. By leveraging technology, we can streamline patient management and ensure care remains patient-centred, with treatments and health strategies customised to each individual.

Enhancing care with digital tools

Digital health includes telemedicine, mobile health apps, wearable devices and AI analytics. These tools empower patients by providing critical health information and facilitating regular communication with providers.

Telemedicine, for example, offers virtual consultations to patients with chronic illnesses, minimising travel and improving access for those in remote areas. This accessibility is vital for reducing health disparities and ensuring equitable care. However, it is crucial that digital health advancements do not exclude those lacking access to digital tools or those uncomfortable using them. Addressing this digital divide is essential.

Mobile health apps and wearables give patients real-time health data, enabling proactive self-management. These technologies can alert both patients and doctors to potential health issues before they arise or become severe, preventing visits to GPs, outpatients or hospitalisations and reducing healthcare costs. AI integration personalises treatment plans based on ongoing health data and can be a vital support tool for health professionals.

It is crucial that digital health advancements do not exclude those lacking access to digital tools or those uncomfortable using them.

Collaboration for digital health advancements

The full potential of digital health requires cross-sector collaboration. Healthcare providers, technology companies, investors, policymakers and patient groups must work together to create solutions that are advanced, secure, scalable and user-friendly. Creating the necessary ecosystem to support small innovative companies, universities and NHS spinouts is crucial for supporting the development of technologies that could revolutionise patient care and improve outcomes and system efficiency.

Digital health holds significant promise for managing both acute and long-term care, making healthcare more accessible, personalised and efficient. With ongoing investment and collaboration across sectors, digital health can help make our health system truly patient-centric and patient-driven.

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