The King’s Fund has released a new report ‘shaping the future of digital technology in health and social care‘, commissioned by the Health Foundation.
The independent report, authored by David Maguire, Matthew Honeyman, Deborah Fenney and Joni Jabbal, shares their views and conclusions, and a summary of evidence for how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, smartphones, wearable devices and the internet of things are being used within care settings around the world.
Digital transformation has played a significant role for the health and care system, which led to this report being commissioned, to help provide insights and support strategic thinking about the role of digital technology in health and care systems in the future.
It was originally commissioned to understand the key developments in health tech, evidence, outcomes, the factors driving change and the implications. The research started with a literature review in 2019, followed by interviews with industry experts.
The report argues that ‘the potential of digital technology to transform the health and social care system has still not been realised’, however noting ‘the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a rapid shift towards the remote delivery of care through online technologies’.”
It highlights that ‘there is evidence that [digital] tools have potential and can be used to support staff and patients with specific tasks (such as the use of AI in diagnostic testing or wearables in behaviour change)’, but that there are large gaps in the evidence base.
One recommendation from the report highlights that ‘for the health and social care sector to make the most of emerging technologies, there need to be fundamental changes in how new tools are evaluated and supported during implementation’.
It calls for ‘more evidence’, the need to understand cost-effectiveness, to provide support for third-party suppliers and improve design and implementation.
The analysis also focuses on change management and the development of skills required for the future, it states ‘local leaders need support to develop change management and analytical skills as well as how best to support to around how best to leverage the opportunities provided by digital technology to improve care for their populations’.