Turning the Crisis Into an Opportunity: Digital Health Strategies Deployed During the COVID-19 Outbreak.
ABSTRACT: Digital health technologies offer significant opportunities to reshape current health care systems. From the adoption of electronic medical records to mobile health apps and other disruptive technologies, digital health solutions have promised a better quality of care at a more sustainable cost. However, the widescale adoption of these solutions is lagging behind. The most adverse scenarios often provide an opportunity to develop and test the capacity of digital health technologies to increase the efficiency of health care systems. Catalonia (Northeast Spain) is one of the most advanced regions in terms of digital health adoption across Europe. The region has a long tradition of health information exchange in the public health care sector and is currently implementing an ambitious digital health strategy. In this viewpoint, we discuss the crucial role digital health solutions play during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to support public health policies. We also report on the strategies currently deployed at scale during the outbreak in Catalonia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The response to COVID-19 catalyzed the adoption and integration of digital health tools into the health care delivery model for musculoskeletal patients. The change, suspension, or relaxation of Medicare and federal guidelines enabled the rapid implementation of these technologies. The expansion of payment models for virtual care facilitated its rapid adoption. The authors aim to provide several examples of digital health solutions utilized to manage orthopedic patients during the pandemic and discuss what features of these technologies are likely to continue to provide value to patients and clinicians following its resolution. CONCLUSION:The widespread adoption of new technologies enabling providers to care for patients remotely has the potential to permanently change the expectations of all stakeholders about the way care is provided in orthopedics. The new era of Digital Orthopaedics will see a gradual and nondisruptive integration of technologies that support the patient's journey through the successful management of their musculoskeletal disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The COVID-19 pandemic is favoring digital transitions in many industries and in society as a whole. Health care organizations have responded to the first phase of the pandemic by rapidly adopting digital solutions and advanced technology tools. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this review is to describe the digital solutions that have been reported in the early scientific literature to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and health systems. METHODS:We conducted a systematic review of early COVID-19-related literature (from January 1 to April 30, 2020) by searching MEDLINE and medRxiv with appropriate terms to find relevant literature on the use of digital technologies in response to the pandemic. We extracted study characteristics such as the paper title, journal, and publication date, and we categorized the retrieved papers by the type of technology and patient needs addressed. We built a scoring rubric by cross-classifying the patient needs with the type of technology. We also extracted information and classified each technology reported by the selected articles according to health care system target, grade of innovation, and scalability to other geographical areas. RESULTS:The search identified 269 articles, of which 124 full-text articles were assessed and included in the review after screening. Most of the selected articles addressed the use of digital technologies for diagnosis, surveillance, and prevention. We report that most of these digital solutions and innovative technologies have been proposed for the diagnosis of COVID-19. In particular, within the reviewed articles, we identified numerous suggestions on the use of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools for the diagnosis and screening of COVID-19. Digital technologies are also useful for prevention and surveillance measures, such as contact-tracing apps and monitoring of internet searches and social media usage. Fewer scientific contributions address the use of digital technologies for lifestyle empowerment or patient engagement. CONCLUSIONS:In the field of diagnosis, digital solutions that integrate with traditional methods, such as AI-based diagnostic algorithms based both on imaging and clinical data, appear to be promising. For surveillance, digital apps have already proven their effectiveness; however, problems related to privacy and usability remain. For other patient needs, several solutions have been proposed, such as telemedicine or telehealth tools. These tools have long been available, but this historical moment may actually be favoring their definitive large-scale adoption. It is worth taking advantage of the impetus provided by the crisis; it is also important to keep track of the digital solutions currently being proposed to implement best practices and models of care in future and to adopt at least some of the solutions proposed in the scientific literature, especially in national health systems, which have proved to be particularly resistant to the digital transition in recent years.
Project description:The number of older adults with cancer is increasing. Over the past 3 decades, geriatric oncology research has focused on improving the assessment of frailty and fitness of older adults with cancer as well as methods of improving their outcomes. At the same time, advances in digital health technologies have opened new frontiers for reaching this goal. Digital health technologies encompass a variety of solutions, from electronic patient-reported outcomes (ePROs) to Big Data and wireless sensors. These solutions have the potential to further advance our understanding of patients' experiences during cancer treatment. Whereas the data on the feasibility and utility of such solutions in the care of older adults with cancer are limited, interest from digital health oncology researchers to further explore the benefits of these products is increasing. In this article, we describe the focus of geriatric oncology, the rationale behind the need to explore digital health technologies in this setting, and emerging data and ongoing studies, as well as provide guidelines for proper selection, implementation, and testing of digital health solutions in the context of geriatric oncology.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Digital health solutions have great potential to change the way health care is delivered, including better clinical outcomes and improved processes and access to health services. However, the adoption of mobile health (mHealth) solutions for patient monitoring has been rather slow in Switzerland. The reasons are complex, and a better understanding is needed to leverage the full potential of mHealth. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to deepen the understanding of the potential relevance and influence of mHealth for the health system and health care provision, and factors influencing its adoption. The findings will be used to provide an outlook on feasible recommendations for action. METHODS:We conducted a qualitative survey using a maximum variation sample of a heterogeneous group of stakeholders (N=50) in the Swiss health care system with a profound knowledge of digital health and medical devices. A semistructured interview guide including open- and closed-ended questions was used to address questions around mHealth relevance and its influence on the health system, the relevance of selected determinants for mHealth adoption, and important influencing factors. A content analysis method was applied. RESULTS:Overall, respondents thought that mHealth would have a beneficial impact on the Swiss health system but that its adoption would evolve slowly. We derived 23 key opportunities regarding patient and patient pathway, treatment of disease, and diseases and health conditions. High consistency in answers among respondents was observed for treatment of disease. Stakeholders' attitudes toward mHealth adoption along the relevance of 23 preselected determinants were relatively consistent. However, we obtained diverging attitudes regarding the influence of trends, enablers, and restraints in Switzerland and translated them into 26 key themes influencing mHealth adoption. Relevant trends comprise changing needs and expectations of patients, a rising need for efficient health care delivery, growing interest in improved outpatient care, and emerging technologies and progressing digitization. Important enablers include growing demand for new financing schemes and incentive concepts, rising demand for comprehensive information on and stronger body of evidence for mHealth use cases, and increasing need for easy to use alternate care approaches. Challenging restraints are rigidness of thinking and siloed actions of health system actors, complexity of changing the existing regulations and structures, little understanding of mHealth use and the role of clinicians, and risk of further polarization of the population. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides a comprehensive look at mHealth in the Swiss health system. It becomes apparent that strong governance is inevitable to foster a sustainable data strategy and to reconcile the different interests of stakeholders. The use of mHealth will add value but will not necessarily reduce the burden on the system caused by emerging societal needs and changing disease prevalence.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Older adults may experience challenges during the hospital to home transitions that could be mitigated by digital health solutions. However, to promote adoption in practice and realise benefits, there is a need to specify how digital health solutions contribute to hospital to home transitions, particularly pertinent in this era of social distancing. This rapid review will: (1) elucidate the various roles and functions that have been developed to support hospital to home transitions of care, (2) identify existing digital health solutions that support hospital to home transitions of care, (3) identify gaps and new opportunities where digital health solutions can support these roles and functions and (4) create recommendations that will inform the design and structure of future digital health interventions that support hospital to home transitions for older adults (eg, the pre-trial results of the Digital Bridge intervention; ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04287192).<h4>Methods and analysis</h4>A two-phase rapid review will be conducted to meet identified aims. In phase 1, a selective literature review will be used to generate a conceptual map of the roles and functions of individuals that support hospital to home transitions for older adults. In phase 2, a search on MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL will identify literature on digital health solutions that support hospital to home transitions. The ways in which digital health solutions can support the roles and functions that facilitate these transitions will then be mapped in the analysis and generation of findings.<h4>Ethics and dissemination</h4>This protocol is a review of the literature and does not involve human subjects, and therefore, does not require ethics approval. This review will permit the identification of gaps and new opportunities for digital processes and platforms that enable care transitions and can help inform the design and implementation of future digital health interventions. Review findings will be disseminated through publications and presentations to key stakeholders.
Project description:BACKGROUND: There is considerable international interest in exploiting the potential of digital solutions to enhance the quality and safety of health care. Implementations of transformative eHealth technologies are underway globally, often at very considerable cost. In order to assess the impact of eHealth solutions on the quality and safety of health care, and to inform policy decisions on eHealth deployments, we undertook a systematic review of systematic reviews assessing the effectiveness and consequences of various eHealth technologies on the quality and safety of care. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We developed novel search strategies, conceptual maps of health care quality, safety, and eHealth interventions, and then systematically identified, scrutinised, and synthesised the systematic review literature. Major biomedical databases were searched to identify systematic reviews published between 1997 and 2010. Related theoretical, methodological, and technical material was also reviewed. We identified 53 systematic reviews that focused on assessing the impact of eHealth interventions on the quality and/or safety of health care and 55 supplementary systematic reviews providing relevant supportive information. This systematic review literature was found to be generally of substandard quality with regards to methodology, reporting, and utility. We thematically categorised eHealth technologies into three main areas: (1) storing, managing, and transmission of data; (2) clinical decision support; and (3) facilitating care from a distance. We found that despite support from policymakers, there was relatively little empirical evidence to substantiate many of the claims made in relation to these technologies. Whether the success of those relatively few solutions identified to improve quality and safety would continue if these were deployed beyond the contexts in which they were originally developed, has yet to be established. Importantly, best practice guidelines in effective development and deployment strategies are lacking. CONCLUSIONS: There is a large gap between the postulated and empirically demonstrated benefits of eHealth technologies. In addition, there is a lack of robust research on the risks of implementing these technologies and their cost-effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated, despite being frequently promoted by policymakers and "techno-enthusiasts" as if this was a given. In the light of the paucity of evidence in relation to improvements in patient outcomes, as well as the lack of evidence on their cost-effectiveness, it is vital that future eHealth technologies are evaluated against a comprehensive set of measures, ideally throughout all stages of the technology's life cycle. Such evaluation should be characterised by careful attention to socio-technical factors to maximise the likelihood of successful implementation and adoption.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Digital health tools comprise a wide range of technologies to support health processes. The potential of these technologies to effectively support health care transformation is widely accepted. However, wide scale implementation is uneven among countries and regions. Identification of common factors facilitating and hampering the implementation process may be useful for future policy recommendations. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to analyze the implementation of digital health tools to support health care and social care services, as well as to facilitate the longitudinal assessment of these services, in 17 selected integrated chronic care (ICC) programs from 8 European countries. METHODS:A program analysis based on thick descriptions-including document examinations and semistructured interviews with relevant stakeholders-of ICC programs in Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom was performed. A total of 233 stakeholders (ie, professionals, providers, patients, carers, and policymakers) were interviewed from November 2014 to September 2016. The overarching analysis focused on the use of digital health tools and program assessment strategies. RESULTS:Supporting digital health tools are implemented in all countries, but different levels of maturity were observed among the programs. Only few ICC programs have well-established strategies for a comprehensive longitudinal assessment. There is a strong relationship between maturity of digital health and proper evaluation strategies of integrated care. CONCLUSIONS:Notwithstanding the heterogeneity of the results across countries, most programs aim to evolve toward a digital transformation of integrated care, including implementation of comprehensive assessment strategies. It is widely accepted that the evolution of digital health tools alongside clear policies toward their adoption will facilitate regional uptake and scale-up of services with embedded digital health tools.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite the existence of adequate technological infrastructure and clearer policies, there are situations where users, mainly physicians, resist mobile health (mHealth) solutions. This is of particular concern, bearing in mind that several studies, both in developed and developing countries, showed that clinicians' adoption is the most influential factor in such solutions' success. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to focus on understanding clinicians' roles in the adoption of an oncology decision support app, the factors impacting this adoption, and its implications for organizational and social practices. METHODS:A qualitative case study of a decision support app in oncology, called ONCOassist, was conducted. The data were collected through 17 in-depth interviews with clinicians and nurses in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. RESULTS:This case demonstrates the affordances and constraints of mHealth technology at the workplace, its implications for the organization of work, and clinicians' role in its constant development and adoption. The research findings confirmed that factors such as app operation and stability, ease of use, usefulness, cost, and portability play a major role in the adoption decision; however, other social factors such as endorsement, neutrality of the content, attitude toward technology, existing workload, and internal organizational politics are also reported as key determinants of clinicians' adoption. Interoperability and cultural views of mobile usage at work are the key workflow disadvantages, whereas higher efficiency and performance, sharpened practice, and location flexibility are the main workflow advantages. CONCLUSIONS:Several organizational implications emerged, suggesting the need for some actions such as fostering a work culture that embraces new technologies and the creation of new digital roles for clinicians both on the hospitals or clinics and on the development sides but also more collaboration between health care organizations and digital health providers to enable electronic medical record integration and solving of any interoperability issues. From a theoretical perspective, we also suggest the addition of a fourth step to Leonardi's methodological guidance that accounts for user engagement; embedding the users in the continuous design and development processes ensures the understanding of user-specific affordances that can then be made more obvious to other users and increase the potential of such tools to go beyond their technological features and have a higher impact on workflow and the organizing process.
Project description:CONTEXT:Digital health offers innovative mechanisms to engage in palliative care, yet digital systems are typically designed for individual users, rather than integrating the patient's caregiving "social convoy" (i.e., family members, friends, neighbors, formal caregiving supports) to maximize benefit. As older adults with serious illness increasingly rely on the support of others, there is a need to foster effective integration of the social convoy in digitally supported palliative care. OBJECTIVES:Conduct a qualitative study examining patient, social convoy, and health care provider perspectives on digital health for palliative care to inform the design of future digital solutions for older adults with serious illness and their social convoy. METHODS:Grounded theory approach using semi-structured interviews (N = 81) with interprofessional health care providers, older adults with serious illness, and their social convoy participants at home, clinic, or Zoom. Interviews were conducted using question guides relevant to the participant group and audio-recorded for verbatim transcription. Two coders lead the inductive analysis using open and axial coding. RESULTS:Thematic results aligned with the human-centered design framework, which is a participatory approach to the design process that incorporates multiple user stakeholders to develop health solutions. The human-centered design process and corresponding theme included the following: 1) Empathy: Patient, Caregiver, and Provider Experience reports participants' experience with managing serious illness, caregiving, social support, and technology use. 2) Define: Reactions to Evidence-Based Care Concepts and Barriers illustrates participants' perspectives on the domains of palliative care ranging from symptom management to psychosocial-spiritual care. 3) Ideation: Desired Features reports participant recommendations for designing digital health tools for palliative care domains. CONCLUSION:Digital health provides an opportunity to expand the reach of geriatric palliative care interventions. This paper documents human-centered preferences of geriatric palliative care digital health to ensure technologies are relevant and meaningful to health care providers, patients, and the caregiving social convoy.