On 12 April, Heather Morgan, who has recently completed a University of Aberdeen Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund project entitled: 'Using self-administered health monitoring technologies to support self-management of long-term conditions: a qualitative evidence synthesis', held a multi-stakeholder dissemination and discussion event at the Wellcome Trust in London. Heather presented the results of the literature review that she has undertaken and fielded some ideas emerging from her ongoing monitoring press coverage of digital health technologies and networking activities with digital health experts, enthusiasts, creators and cynics.
The event was entitled: ‘What is the evidence for apps and wearables? New health technologies for chronic conditions’ and the meeting brought together a small group comprising practitioners, NHS commissioners and policy makers, publishers, public contributors/commentators, technology developers, media, researchers and representatives from the Wellcome Trust.
The main purpose of the discussion was to consider the findings of Heather’s review in the light of UK, EU and global commitments to driving digital health forward and to identify priority areas for further research that will have direct impact for policy and practice. Heather said: ‘We had extremely rich discussions, which were particularly helpful for me in shaping and refining priority areas for my research going forward. I am a social scientist and a health services researcher, so I want to ensure that I target my work to have policy and practice impact. It was really useful to sit around a table with people interested in the area of digital health who have different perspectives, responsibilities and agendas. Everyone engaged with me, my work and each other, which was brilliant. It’s also good to know that it wasn’t just me who thought the event was worthwhile. When an NHS England Director says that the three hour meeting was not a waste of her time, then that’s really positive.’ The meeting concluded with participants agreeing that a new network had been established within the room and Heather is now leading on formalising and growing a multi-stakeholder collaborative going forward. This builds on work that she has already been doing locally to establish a digital health working group for Aberdeen.
Participants requested draft copies of Heather’s review and this has been shared with the Scottish Health Technologies Group within Healthcare Improvement Scotland and NHS England, as well as with commercial and private digital health technologies developers.