A new coalition with members from Royal Colleges, health charities (including Patient Safety Learning) and patient groups has come together to ensure the interests of patients are at the heart of the development of policy in digital health technology.
The Patient Coalition for AI, Data and Digital Tech in Health is the first coalition to unite such a diverse range of stakeholders from across the health policy landscape in order to champion the patient perspective in this field.
Currently, not enough is being done to ensure that patients are included in the evolving policy discussions surrounding the development, implementation or evaluation of digital health technologies in the UK. In fact, there is limited understanding of what patients actually want from digital health. The danger is that these technologies end up as something done ‘to’ patients rather than ‘with’ and ‘for’ them.
In addition to providing a forum for discussion, this Coalition will act as an independent campaigning coalition, taking forward joint pieces of work and engaging actively to help influence Government and NHS policy on the use of digital technology in healthcare. The goal will be to ensure patient interests are at the forefront of ongoing media and policy discussions surrounding digital health tech, and being incorporated into the policymaking process. The goal is to cultivate the necessary policy conditions to enable the UK to capitalise on new digital health technologies to the benefit of patients and the NHS.
Issues Coalition members have committed to tackling include:
- Examining health inequalities and calling for the prioritisation of access to digital health.
- Sharing best patient-centric practice in digital health.
- Ensuring the patient perspective is embedded in policy and government strategies.
The Coalition’s objectives for the next year are to:
- Promote understanding of the patient experience of digital health
- Ensure patients receive the support needed to access digital health tech
- Inform policymakers on what good practice looks like.
The Coalition will continue to engage proactively with policymakers, health agencies and others to help inform digital health policy. It will campaign for policies such as:
- Ensuring all patients have access to digital health technology, regardless of where they are in the country
- Providing patients with the choice of how they receive care, and empowering them to make that decision for themselves
- Prioritising digital assurance so that patients feel confident when engaging with digital health technologies that they are using products that have been approved by the NHS
- Ensuring there are clear regulations for the collection, sharing and use of patient data.
Read the full press release on the Patients Association website.
Read the Coalition's first report: Digital Health during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Learning Lessons to Maintain Momentum.
Source: Patients Association, 15 September 2021