Digital-first community care will involve people being increasingly cared for in their own homes, monitored by wearable devices and using online consultations and smartphone apps for health advice and to check symptoms.
Digital healthcare empowers people to better track, manage, and improve their own and their family's health, and live better, more productive lives. Digital healthcare applications have potential to reduce inefficiencies in healthcare delivery, improve access, reduce costs, increase quality, and make medicine more personalised and precise.
Within the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, our research in this area aims to investigate and evaluate the effectiveness of applying digital tools in healthcare, with a particular focus on low-resourced national health services, where digital tools can be applied as cost-effective interventions for those with long-term conditions, and for particular groups such as pregnant women.
Current projects are investigating the use of digital tools by patients to better manage their health, such as online and management evaluation of blood pressure, and text message reminders for the management of Type 1 diabetes.
We are also evaluating the use of digital tools by healthcare practitioners (termed eHealth) to improve patient communication and feedback, for example the use of Skype for GP consultations with patient, and improving NHS quality using internet ratings and feedback of patient experience.