Members of the Imperial College London and DigitalStitch team have published an article in the academic journal BMJ Innovations on their strategy to mHealth development. The Imperial ‘Clarify, Design and Evaluate (CDE)’ approach to the development of digital health solutions. Despite great enthusiasm for mHealth, there have been ongoing concerns regarding a lack of clinician involvement, end-user engagement and the lack of a robust evidence base, underpinning the development of many apps. In the article we present the CDE framework that supports the structured translation of an initial idea through to an effective app. The article is outlines the development of two apps using this approach so that other digital health innovators are aware of the requirement for well-conducted research, design and evaluation methods when implementing their apps. The article can be read in full here.
With our close colleagues at the HELIX Centre we displayed a number of our digital health solutions in the Innovators Forum at WISH 2015 in Doha, Qatar. The World Innovation Summit for Health brings together leading policymakers, academics, clinicians and innovators to discuss the greatest challenges facing healthcare. A number of our digital health platforms were on display including
- CareReport – an innovative digital solution to collect information on patient safety incidents
- Pinion – our platform for collecting patient experience data developed for a hospital group in Qatar
- Hark – our task management and collaboration platform
A number of high profile delegates took time to find out more about our products solutions including Don Berwick (in picture), Devi Shetty and Sheika Mozah bint Nasser
Dominic King from DigitalStitch took part on a digital health panel at the TechCrunch London Disrupt event. On stage with Dominic were Tim Kelsey and Peter Hames and the panel discussed the potential role for digital solutions in the NHS and more widely. Dominic discussed issues including the role for digital interventions in managing Ebola, the importance of talking the behaviours underpinning many of the challenges we face in health policy and current barriers for digital health entrepreneurs. A video of the panel can be seen on the TechCrunch blog and some of the issues were further explored in articles on the CNBC and MobiHealthNews sites.
Mobile phones have a particular attractions as a platform to encourage behaviour change given their wide adoption, portability and technical capabilities. They can be used to deliver motivational messages, support and information to the recipient. They can also be used to record information related diet or physical activity in real time. Whilst such functionality can theoretically be delivered through SMS, apps running on smartphones devices have expanded the utility of mobile phones for public health health interventions. The computational power of smartphones and associated networks can now handle complex aggregate providing salient information and useful support to the end user.
Improvements in interface design, batteries, processors and wireless technologies is enhancing the power, personalisation and mobility of handsets. We are now seeing smartphones as the hub of a body sensor network that sees wearable sensors on the body measuring health related parameters (e.g. blood presure, blood glucose). It is only time before such integrated systems form the basis of very sophisticated behaviour change programmes where ‘just in time’ interventions are delivered when support is most needed to encourage healthy choices (Intille 2004). So smokers may recieve motivational messages at certain times of the week or in specific contexts when they are most likely to light a cigarette. Interventions delivered over mobile phones are easily scalable over large populations and can be individualised and tailored.
We continue to exist in a world overrun with information. Too often this information is bloated with answers to questions nobody has asked or wants to know, is incomplete or fails to answer the question posed. Finding the salient information in amongst the deluge has always been a challenge and never more so than now. Adopting a more personalised solution in the form of mHealth data collection offers a major strategy in healthcare that can help address this.
Some have criticised big pharma for being slow off the mark to monopolise on the mHealth revolution. In the changing pharmaceutical landscape where the days of the block-buster drugs are fading and innovation is key, it is easy to see why momentum is now building and the industry is becoming more aware of the potential for mHealth solutions in nearly all aspects of their business practice.