Digital health education: the need for a digitally ready workforce

Brown, Tamsin Mary Holland and Bewick, Mike (2022) Digital health education: the need for a digitally ready workforce. Archives of disease in childhood: education and practice edition . pp. 1-4.

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Digital health education develops an understanding of the pragmatic use of digital technologies, including health apps, artificial intelligence and wearables, in the National Health Service (NHS). Staff should feel confident accessing up-to-date, quality-assured digital health solutions. Digital health is a high priority in government, NHS organisations and Royal Colleges. However, there is a gap between what is expected and the education of staff or medical students to enable implementation. Digital health education needs to be up to date and universally included within training, continuing professional development activities and medical school curriculums. During COVID-19, more families across the UK became digitally enabled with school, council, charities and governments providing access to devices, WiFi and mobile data for those that needed it. Improved digital access brings equalities in access to health information and healthcare professionals. Health app use sharply rose during COVID-19, as patients self-managed and took control of their conditions, but most health apps do not reach NHS standards. Paediatricians are well positioned to advise on appropriate health app use and advocate for improved patient access to solutions. Many paediatricians adopted remote video consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic but could soon adopt more digital health strategies to remotely track, monitor and manage conditions remotely. Patient management now includes remote consultations and digital health solutions; therefore, medical histories should capture digital access,
environments and literacy. This article explains the importance of digital health education, lists accessible resources and provides examples of health apps that can be recommended.

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