No Digital Health about me without me! - Guest Blog by Roz Davies

Roz Davies

11th November 2017

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A guest blog by Roz Davies

People all over the world have woken up to the power of digital to transform lives. For better or worse it is reaching every part of our lives: jobs, lifestyle, the environment and politics

If it is designed and used in the right way digital has the potential to positively impact on humanity in so many ways, not least in health, care and well being.

As a person living with Type 1 diabetes I have benefited from digital technology which helps me track my blood sugar level, access peer support 24/7 and information at the touch of a button.

The current and emerging developments in digital health are far reaching; 318,000 health apps on the top app stores, glucose level detecting contact lenses, modular prosthetic limbs controlled by the brain, health sensors in driverless cars, personal genetic testing, the list is endless and growing rapidly.

It is not just the new and cutting edge technology but also the mainstreaming of the basics that is making a difference. GP Dr Amir Hanan shows us how access to electronic records is making a difference to his patients, while Sheffield Flourish shows us how enabling people to share their recovery stories will in turn support others when accessing valuable peer support. It also helps them gain the knowledge and confidence to access activities and services. Personally, I can’t emphasise enough the positive impact of my children recently being able to FaceTime their terminally ill Grandma in hospital, enabled by the free WiFi access in an NHS hospital.

In the context of the concept of people driven digital there are three key issues which we must explore and resolve at the same time as developing and adopting digital technology:

  • The importance of involving the intended beneficiaries in firstly understanding the problem and secondly designing the digital solutions. As a gold standard this needs to involve genuine co-production, building shared trust, responsibility and most importantly power. Check out New Economics Coproduction Manifesto.
  • Building a shared digital understanding of the full and long term implications of developing and using digital technology solutions and subsequently developing and upholding robust ethical standards which protect all of us at a society and individual level. Check out Dame Martha Lane Fox’s House of Lords Speech.
  • Ensuring that we are not compounding inequality and taking a shared responsibility to tackle digital inclusion at all levels. Check out Good Things Foundation.

The concept of ‘no decision about me without me’ is enshrined in the NHS. Perhaps we should also apply this principle to digital health.

No digital health about me without me!

I am delighted to be joining Dr Victoria Betton and Anne Cooper for the People Drive Digital 2017 session at GIANT Health Event on 30th November. I will be hosting a conversation session with a number of experts and talking to them about their insights and experiences and views on people driven digital.

Roz Davies is currently Principal Director of Communities and Localities at New Economics Foundation and Non-Executive Director for Care Opinion. Previously she was Managing Director of Sheffield Flourish (UK Digital Charity Leader of the Year). The Health Service Journal identified her as one of the 50 foremost Patient Leaders and The Guardian as one of the top five to follow on social media on chronic illness.

Roz Davies

Roz Davies