Readiness for delivering digital health at scale: lessons from a longitudinal qualitative evaluation of a national digital health innovation program in the United Kingdom

Lennon, M. R. et al. (2017) Readiness for delivering digital health at scale: lessons from a longitudinal qualitative evaluation of a national digital health innovation program in the United Kingdom. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(2), e42. (doi:10.2196/jmir.6900) (PMID:28209558) (PMCID:PMC5334516)

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Abstract

Background: Digital health has the potential to support care delivery for chronic illness. Despite positive evidence from localized implementations, new technologies have proven slow to become accepted, integrated, and routinized at scale. Objective: The aim of our study was to examine barriers and facilitators to implementation of digital health at scale through the evaluation of a £37m national digital health program: ‟Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale” (dallas) from 2012-2015. Methods: The study was a longitudinal qualitative, multi-stakeholder, implementation study. The methods included interviews (n=125) with key implementers, focus groups with consumers and patients (n=7), project meetings (n=12), field work or observation in the communities (n=16), health professional survey responses (n=48), and cross program documentary evidence on implementation (n=215). We used a sociological theory called normalization process theory (NPT) and a longitudinal (3 years) qualitative framework analysis approach. This work did not study a single intervention or population. Instead, we evaluated the processes (of designing and delivering digital health), and our outcomes were the identified barriers and facilitators to delivering and mainstreaming services and products within the mixed sector digital health ecosystem. Results: We identified three main levels of issues influencing readiness for digital health: macro (market, infrastructure, policy), meso (organizational), and micro (professional or public). Factors hindering implementation included: lack of information technology (IT) infrastructure, uncertainty around information governance, lack of incentives to prioritize interoperability, lack of precedence on accountability within the commercial sector, and a market perceived as difficult to navigate. Factors enabling implementation were: clinical endorsement, champions who promoted digital health, and public and professional willingness. Conclusions: Although there is receptiveness to digital health, barriers to mainstreaming remain. Our findings suggest greater investment in national and local infrastructure, implementation of guidelines for the safe and transparent use and assessment of digital health, incentivization of interoperability, and investment in upskilling of professionals and the public would help support the normalization of digital health. These findings will enable researchers, health care practitioners, and policy makers to understand the current landscape and the actions required in order to prepare the market and accelerate uptake, and use of digital health and wellness services in context and at scale.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wyke, Professor Sally and Watson, Professor Nicholas and Devlin, Dr Alison and Bikker, Ms Annemieke and Chetty, Dr Ula and Finch, Dr Tracy and Bouamrane, Dr Matt-Mouley and Grieve, Miss Eleanor and Mair, Professor Frances and O'Donnell, Professor Catherine
Authors: Lennon, M. R., Bouamrane, M.-M., Devlin, A. m., O'Connor, S., O'Donnell, C., Chetty, U., Agbakoba, R., Bikker, A., Grieve, E., Finch, T., Watson, N., Wyke, S., and Mair, F. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Health Economics and Health Technology Assessment
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Medical Internet Research
Publisher:Journal of Medical Internet Research
ISSN:1438-8871
ISSN (Online):1438-8871
Published Online:16 February 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Medical Internet Research 19(2):e42
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
588741DALLAS Evaluation & Networking.Frances MairTechnology Strategy Board (TSB) (TSB)UNSPECIFIEDIHW - GENERAL PRACTICE & PRIMARY CARE