Digital health and technology

Increasingly, digital technology such as smartphone apps and virtual reality are being used to help patients prevent, manage and recover from long term health conditions such as stroke.

It is essential that healthcare professionals select and utilise digital technology appropriately, ideally using evidenced based products that have been endorsed by the NHS or a similar body. A product must be beneficial to its user, and should also comply with UK information governance requirements, with cost and accessibility other important considerations.

Digital health technology can be used to help stroke patients (and their carers) in the following ways:

  • Stimuli for skilled and functional therapy
  • Home practice
  • Assessment
  • Stroke prevention and healthier lifestyles
  • Emotional well-being
  • Education
  • Social engagement and peer support

The NHS app library has been established to help inform professionals and the public, with other organisations such as ORCHA providing searches for rated apps. Aphasia software finder is an up to date website that can be used to find products relating to the condition.

Healthcare professional bodies may have codes of conduct for using technology, as may local NHS Trusts and these should be followed by clinicians.

The network will be launching training in 2020 to help teams use technology safely and effectively

 

Resources

GMSODN suggested digital health technology products (v1.1 Oct 19) – Built on work by the Greater Manchester Neuro Rehabilitation Operational Delivery Network

Multi Device Agreements – guide to setting up devices such as tablets to reduce the cost of purchasing apps

Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists guidance on use of apps (key points)