What Are Digital Health Solutions?
According to the 2021 World Index of Health Innovation, the UK is ranked 10 worldwide in health innovation. While the UK has had its struggles for some time, it is home to one of the largest collections of scientists. In particular, the UK excelled in the Dimension of Science and Technology. It’s no surprise since the UK is not only abundant with world-class scientists, but it is also home to top universities.
Despite the promising aspects of the digital health sector in the UK, it performed poorly in the health quality and choice department. Therefore, it is crucial that the UK healthcare system is able to maximise that talent and tap into digital health technologies to overcome any gaps that exist in the current health outcomes and systems.
Digital health technologies such as smartphone apps, wearable devices and telehealth offer a personalised and flexible approach to healthcare by empowering patients to manage, track and boost their own health and well-being.
The use of digital health technologies comes with many benefits. For instance, accessing dedicated healthcare services might be challenging for people living in rural areas. Digital healthcare could be the solution as it’s time and cost effective: patients can use it anywhere, anytime to connect with their doctor. By breaking down those barriers, patients and doctors are able to build a collaborative relationship based on trust.
In this guide, you will learn the different aspects of bringing digital health solutions to the UK and the various innovations that are making this happen.
Adoption of Digital Health Systems in the UK
The UK government recently published its digital health and social care plan for 2022 onwards. Based on the policy report, the government is taking concrete steps toward bringing digital transformation in healthcare services as part of the vital step toward ensuring sustainability in providing health solutions to the public.
The policy reiterates the value of digital technology as the foundation for sustainable healthcare systems and services. Therefore, digital innovation and transformation will serve as the linchpin wherein all other reforms will take place. This digital transformation has accelerated during the height of the pandemic but it’s already a result of a decade-long effort to improve health systems.
The rise of digital solutions in the UK health system is exemplified by the following data:
- Over 28 million users of the NHS app
- Over 40 million account owners on the NHS website
- Increased implementation of electronic health records policy in the NHS
- Up to £150 million in funding for the digital adoption in digital health innovation
The proponents of the digital health plan in the UK are hoping to take whatever was learned in the pandemic towards improving access to digital healthcare and other similar services.
The current efforts to improve access to digital health services could result in billions in private investments for more digital innovations, as well as improved efficiency in the management of health data and improved patient outcomes.
To give rise to a new era of digital health innovations in the UK requires leadership and a culture shift in the UK health systems.
Digital Health Innovations in the UK
The Digital Health London Accelerator Programme is part of the initiative to promote digital health solutions in the UK. This program supports small- to medium-sized digital health companies in the UK that are making an impact on the digital health sector by providing innovative digital solutions on various aspects of health care.
These companies and their digital solutions encompass different areas of the health systems, such as decision support, access to services, health data management, chronic disease management, healthcare and cybersecurity, data sharing, remote monitoring, and more.
Ampersand Health is one of the digital health companies in the UK that deliver digital therapeutics to address the pressing challenges facing patients dealing with long-term inflammatory conditions.
Long-term and chronic diseases are a global issue, not just isolated in the UK. Research shows it is responsible for up to 82% of deaths globally. It also affects up to 75% of the global health budgets.
The traditional approach to treating inflammatory conditions is the use of drugs and medications. However, social factors are not well-accounted for in the treatment process. Ampersand Health wants to improve the management of inflammatory conditions with the use of digital applications.
Numerous features are available through the digital therapeutics app, such as expert-led courses, self-management tracking, personalised insights, and clinical messaging. These features and courses are designed and developed alongside experts to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the information for each condition.
Oxford Heatbeat is one of the best digital innovations in the UK, which aims to support surgical decision-making using cutting-edge technology. According to data, 25% of stenting surgeries are unsuccessful. Therefore, Oxford Heartbeat developed a tool that simulates realistic stent placement to ensure accuracy and effective results.
Every patient is unique and no stent devices are the same. This adds to the difficulty of choosing the right stenting device to match the patient’s anatomy within a surgical situation. The simulation technology offered by Oxford Heartbeatovercomes this issue by conducting simulation activities before the actual surgical operation using the patented PreSize Neurovascular medical device that delivers precision to stenting procedures.
This is one of the best digital health solutions assisting surgeons because they can visualise patient anatomy, predict stent behaviour, and maximise the positioning of the stent device with up to 96% accuracy.
Ortus iHealth is another company that utilised digital technologies for better health outcomes and accuracy. Virtual clinics have become the norm during the pandemic when social distancing was prevalent as a way to minimise physical contact between GPs and their patients.
Ortus iHealth developed the virtual outpatient clinic platform to facilitate patient care using digital technologies. This platform enables patients to choose between remote monitoring and telehealth consultations for primary care needs.
You can use the platform for setting outpatient and follow-up appointments with ease, which greatly improves patient experience and ensure that the patient’s well-being is constantly monitored even with a lack of access to clinic visits.
Increasing access to patient care is the most notable advantage of this virtual clinic platform. Therefore, patients can set up video or phone consultations based on their needs or preferences. Virtual clinics ensure the safety of both the patient and healthcare providers. You can also use the platform to access the patient status dashboard wherein you can track trends and view individual parameters as well as other indicators.
Digital Health Passport (Tiny Medical Apps)
The Digital Health Passport is a personal health record app that is one of the best uses of digital technologies in UK health tech. This medical app is Tiny Medical Apps’ flagship product. This personal health record app is NHS login enabled, which is developed to assist patients in the management of long-term conditions, such as asthma.
According to The Health Foundation, improving the management of health conditions empowers individual patients and can help UK health systems save up to £800 million annually. It also educates patients about the essence of preventive care and improves overall health education.
This approach is especially true with young people; the use of the latest technologies and apps can make them more accountable when it comes to health and preventative care. It also enables individual patients to create a personalised health management plan, which can greatly reduce unplanned hospital visits.
Medicspot is one of the best digital health solutions available in the UK. It offers remote examination for patients to ensure convenience and accessibility to basic and advanced health care. Using your phone or laptop, you can access the clever examination kit by Medicspot. You can also use this primary care tool to book an appointment seamlessly at a time that is most convenient for you, even in the evenings or during weekends.
Using the Medicspot tool, you can consult with your GP via phone or video call. This gives you the best opportunity to address your health concerns using digital technologies. You will be referred to an NHS-trained doctor to ensure the quality of health care you get. This digital health solution also offers other benefits, such as a personalised treatment plan and access to prescriptions.
LifeBox Health is a digital pre-assessment tool launched in September 2022 as part of the preparatory measures for an upcoming surgery. It collects relevant health data, such as your medical history, to deliver the best quality health care possible.
The use of LifeBox Health is ideal for adult elective surgery to ensure that it is appropriate and safe for the patient.
This medical technology is easy to use and enables you to accomplish the pre-operative assessment within the comfort of your own home. Therefore, it relieves patients and their families of the strain of dealing with hospital visits and the stressful environment.
EQL Limited has introduced an excellent health innovation in the field of physiotherapy. The company is one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry, known for delivering new innovations to the field.
This advanced medical technology is a great example of the successful implementation of artificial intelligence in the medical and health field. Specifically, the Phio Access application is a triage tool powered by artificial intelligence. This digital technology tool and physiotherapy app enable NHS patients suffering from muscle and joint pain to be triaged for their problems. They will then be referred to a GP and then forwarded to a physiotherapy specialist for further assessment and tests.
This digital health app is the first of its kind and is able to distinguish clients in need of urgent help using artificial intelligence.
Sweatcoin is another digital app that uses new technologies to promote better health and physical activity. This free app is a great health companion because it incentivises physical activity.
Ibex Medical Analytics
Ibex Medical Analytics offers one of the best digital health solutions for cancer patients. It is an AI-supported diagnostic tool for cancer patients to improve diagnostic capacity and reduce the incidence of misdiagnosis. The AI-powered diagnostic digital health solution facilitates effective and timely cancer treatment.
The AI-diagnostic tool uses new technologies to evaluate multiple tissue types for accurate diagnosis results. The tool is developed from a rich set of health data extracted from more than 10 million slides and various pathology institutes all over the world.
Multiple AI algorithms and data science is developed with the help of expert pathologists using deep learning, and new technologies.
Diabetes Digital Media
Over 1.6 billion people are diagnosed with metabolic health disorders annually, which include type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Digital Media is a digital health innovation that uses an evidence-based approach in developing a personalised health app for diabetes patients.
The goal of this digital health innovation is to help manage the treatment and symptoms of diabetes patients. It facilitates the patient journey using health data and a primary care approach, such as assisting in the development of diet and managing other health needs.
For example, the digital care app provides a low-carb program that is clinically proven to improve the remission rate of diabetes among 26% of diagnosed patients. Therefore, the NHS has approved this digital healthcare app to assist diabetes patients in the adoption of effective disease management solutions using digital technology.
Lifelight from Xim Limited is a game-changing digital health solution and healthcare remote monitoring system. According to the product website, it is the future of clinical observations!
This digital health product enables contactless measurement of patients’ vital signs. This medical device takes advantage of the built-in camera in your phone or tablet to record relevant health data and vital signs, such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation, breathing rate, and pulse reading. It is a completely contactless health data tool and requires no additional hardware.
Lifelight has earned the CE mark and is a product of a massive physiological study. There were over 8,500 patients that were studied as part of the clinical trials for this to ensure the efficient and accurate recording of patient vital signs. It is an excellent tool in the collection and data sharing of patient information for further analysis and clinical observations.
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer afflicting people in the UK and in various parts of the world. Skinvision is one of the success stories of digital adoption in the UK’s health systems wherein you can use the app on your smartphone to accurately detect skin cancer.
Early diagnosis is vital to success stories and survival rates among skin cancer patients. Therefore, a medical device app such as the one from Skinvision is a pivotal step towards improving the survival rate of skin cancer, especially melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer.
This digital tool is also a great way to promote the health and care of the skin as part of the prevention efforts in the battle against skin cancer.
The Bottom Line
The use of digital health technologies empowers the NHS and other healthcare organisations to facilitate giving improved quality of health and care for patients. As more clinicians and research studies are conducted, it will only benefit the UK health system to ensure that high-quality health services are available to patients who need them most.
You can expect more innovations to come in the healthcare field to address the needs of patients and to use healthcare data to make informed decisions for the future.
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