Use digital for long term condition management

A new report has called for better digital access among individuals with long-term conditions, including through social prescribing of digital skills where necessary.

Setting out proposals for future development of technology in the NHS, the National Health Servers: delivering digital health for all report, published by the Social Market Foundation, tracks the patient journey, from prevention and diagnosis in the community, into primary and secondary care, through into management of long-term conditions.

The report argues that there are huge opportunities to keep patients out of the NHS, claiming that the prevention of disease can reduce the likelihood of people having to enter hospital care in the first place; and that better digital management of long-term conditions can help avoid unnecessary readmissions into hospital.

As well as promoting digital access among individuals with long-term conditions, the report recommends enshrining digital rights in the NHS Constitution to make a reality of promises in the NHS Long Term Plan and to level out unwarranted variation in provision and addressing the risk that technology could exacerbate existing health inequalities by prescribing devices and wearables where there is a clear health need to individuals who cannot afford these products.

The Social Market Foundation also suggests opening a public debate on Electronic Patient Records and selling the benefits of patient data to the health of the UK population, as a first step towards winning consent for sharing and using data.

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