Developing care for a changing population: Patient engagement and health information technology

This discussion paper highlights three applications of health information technology for people with complex health conditions, and lays out principles to bear in mind when designing, promoting and implementing health information technologies.

The NHS in England is facing a huge productivity challenge, and achieving the necessary improvements in efficiency to close the £22billion funding gap will require a transformation in the way care is delivered. This discussion paper explores how health information technology could help to achieve this transformation.

Older people and their carers are becoming increasingly familiar with the internet and digital technology, so there is no reason why health information technologies could not be used much more extensively to enhance care and support, and to benefit the wider health and care system. 

Digital tools, remote monitoring systems and telephone support services can be used to help people live independently for longer, but only if they are well designed with the end-users in mind. The paper concludes that the main hope for improving health outcomes for patients with complex conditions, whilst balancing the books, is to shift from a reactive to a proactive care system.

This discussion paper was originally prepared as a working paper for the Nuffield Trust and the Commonwealth Fund’s 15th international meeting on improving the quality and efficiency of health care, designed to provoke and inform debate. This paper is one of three UK papers commissioned for the meeting and subsequently prepared for publication by the Nuffield Trust.

Suggested citation

Coulter A and Mearns B (2016) Developing care for a changing population: Patient engagement and health information technology. Discussion paper. Nuffield Trust.