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With more healthcare providers and patients adopting digital health technologies (DHTs), the way healthcare is delivered and managed is rapidly changing. Learn how the UK is looking to improve digital health literacy in order to keep up.

The emergence of DHTs such as telemedicine, wearable devices, health apps, and AI-powered diagnosis and treatment, is radically transforming the healthcare industry.

The UK is no exception, with digital health also gaining ground in its healthcare sector. This has led to the development of new programmes to help improve digital literacy among healthcare providers and educate the public about the new digital healthcare system.

The recently published Office of Health Economics report on the state of Digital Health in the UK summarises the digital health landscape in the UK, including these efforts to improve digital literacy. 

In this blog post, we’ll examine these findings and the lessons they learned from them.

An overview of digital health in the UK

The digital health market in the UK is supported by both the private and public sectors, with considerable involvement from academic institutions at the research level. Although private investors are vital in the early stages of development, the NHS buys the majority of healthcare technologies in the UK. This means that the majority of manufacturers follow NHS guidelines and regulations.

There are a few key sectors of digital health that see the most investment and innovation in the UK, including telehealthcare, mHealth (mobile health), health analytics, and digitalised health systems.

Over 6,000 businesses employ more than 256,000 people in the life sciences industry, generating a turnover of more than £80B. It’s comprised of the Biopharma sector, the largest by turnover, and the MedTech sector, the largest by employment.

Within MedTech, digital health is the largest segment by employment, with 12,900 people in 640 businesses generating a total turnover of £1.7B. This segment has seen significant growth between 2019 and 2020, with 63% of digital health businesses being formed during that time.

Digital health literacy in the UK

According to recent estimates, 62% of people working in the medical sector have the digital skills required for their job. However, this number could be even higher due to the pandemic which saw a rapid improvement in digital literacy among working professionals and encouraged people to be more reliant on digital or online services.

While encouraging, the UK still suffers from demographic discrepancies in its digital literacy, leading to different stakeholders, such as charities, government initiatives, or independent organisations looking to improve it and tackle digital inequality by sharing resources such as how-to guides, videos, and short courses. 

Similarly, the NHS works in partnership with several organisations to provide training and support for adequate digital literacy among its staff, as well as training digital health champions who support others in building their confidence using DHTs.

In support of this, Health Education England (HEE), the branch of the NHS responsible for the training and education of its staff, has developed its Health and care digital capabilities framework that outlines its goals and helps set objectives to improve digital literacy among staff. 

HEE also developed the e-learning for healthcare (elfh) platform, which provides a range of free programmes to health sector workers to learn and practice the digital skills needed, ranging from basic digital literacy skills to training for healthcare educators to teach online.

Other institutions that support healthcare workers in improving their digital literacy skills include the NHS Digital Academy whose offerings include a fully funded and fully accredited postgraduate diploma in Digital Health Leadership and the Allied Health Professions which aims to ensure that degree-level professions beyond doctors and nurses, such as physiotherapists or speech and language therapists, can also get access to digital literacy training.

CRM and digital health

CRM systems can help healthcare professionals better manage their interactions with patients and improve the delivery of digital health services.

This includes improved personalisation of digital health services based on factors such as patient preferences or health status, scheduling of telemedicine consultations, the secure management of patient data, and analysis of patient data to identify areas needing optimisation.

At Huble, we’ve helped many healthcare businesses implement and optimise their CRM, while our 24/7 managed services ensure that your staff has the support and training they need to take full advantage of the platform.

Find out more about how we can assist with CRM for healthcare providers.

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