The Digital Healthcare Council is the voice of digital health providers. Our members deliver care digitally directly to patients and by working in partnership with others.
Digital health is already transforming millions of patients’ lives and the health services on which they rely. If we achieve the optimal environment, those benefits will be realised in every corner of the country and to all patients and patient groups who wish to consume healthcare in this way.
To achieve this objective we influence and engage key health and social care decision-makers, working to inform the development of policy and regulation in order to create the optimal environment for digital providers.
Our design principles
We believe the following four design principles are essential to create a vibrant and sustainable digital health ecosystem that works for patients:
1. People first
Digital health and social care must put people first.
This means adopting policies and processes that achieve 24/7 support for real people combining education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment, in a way which does not widen inequalities.
2. Fair system rules
If we are to build a people first service, the rules that shape the market must prioritise people’s interests. This has implications both for financial and procurement rules as well as clinical and professional regulation.
3. Free and open information
Digital health offers the opportunity to make improvements at an unprecedented scale and pace across many areas spanning diagnostics, prevention, identification of patient safety risks, and clinical effectiveness.
Too often, data is inaccessible, locked in closed systems or with meaning that is lost because of a lack of standardised data structures and poor meta data.
We therefore need to adopt two key policy principles:
- patient data belongs first and foremost to the patient;
- procure open, interoperable solutions by default.
In practice, this means that patients should own their data and be able to take it with them and/or grant access to any provider they wish.
4. Build the evidence base
We believe all healthcare, including digital health, should be based on evidence. Digital provision allows a step change in the level of available information. Potentially, every interaction can generate a depth of data that provides previously unimaginable insights into patient behaviour, the impact of environmental factors on health and the effectiveness of specific interventions.