Commissioning digital health

Commissioning digital health

Author: The Health Foundation

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The NHS Commissioning Assembly advises that Technology Enabled Care Services should be routinely considered in the design and commissioning of any care pathway. It also has the potential to span patient pathways across different conditions, health care teams, health and social care agencies.

Inside Commissioning magazine, in its supplement on commissioning telehealth, identifies ten key steps commissioners need to take to commission telehealth effectively:

  • Communication – identifying leaders and champions throughout the commissioning cycle – from envisaging and consultation stages, to procurement and defining service specifications, training and roll out, delivery and ongoing evaluation.
  • Patient and public involvement and engagement for the direction and scope of commissioning of technology enabled care services.
  • Considering how telehealth or other digital modalities such as video, telecare (assistive technology), teleconsultations or telediagnostics can be used to drive integrated care and not as standalone solutions.
  • Focusing digital delivery of care on hotspots in patient pathways where enhancing self-care or remote care of a patient’s condition with associated interventions can improve the clinical outcomes and/or avoid the use of healthcare services
  • Anticipating consequence costs before commissioning digital delivery of care.
  • Anticipating the training of health and social care professionals that will be necessary for the effective roll out of digital delivery of care.
  • Thinking about what kind of digital delivery of care suits the particular patient population.
  • Commissioning evaluation alongside any technology enabled care services, with interim reports that can help to adapt digital delivery of care to different applications or settings.
  • Considering what improvement tools should underpin your commissioning and service improvement – leadership, transformational change, service redesign.
  • Working closely with all stakeholders.

Whilst digital health has the potential to support the delivery of person-centred care, it there is also the potential to aggregate data to provide wider learning for services. It is therefore helpful to consider at the commissioning stage, how the technology can be utilised to measure and capture meaningful outcomes data, which can provide a continuous feedback loop that informs commissioning and service design.

Read more about these challenges and approaches to addressing them in Tackling telehealth: how CCGs can commission successful telehealth services.

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