This page summarises some my research in Connected (Connecting) Health and shares insights on the various methodologies employed to transform clinical pathways and derive greater value from innovative healthcare models. Connected Health is an emerging and rapidly developing field which has the potential to transform healthcare service systems by increasing its safety, quality and overall efficiency. While considered a disruptive technological approach in healthcare, it is used by different industries in various sector contexts (for example, healthcare, social care and the wellness sector). Thus, various definitions for Connected Health exist with different emphasis placed on healthcare, business, technology and support service providers, or any combination of these. Within the research community, Connected Health is not well defined and remains an ambiguous concept. The ECHAlliance (2014), in a recent report, promote the concept of Connected Health to act as “the umbrella description covering digital health, eHealth, mHealth, telecare, telehealth and telemedicine”. Therefore, Connected health is considered to be an emerging model of care ensuring stakeholders are ‘connected’ by means of timely sharing and presentation of accurate and pertinent information regarding patient status. This poses many exciting questions and opportunities to design new healthcare delivery models.
In recent years, societal and demographic changes, coupled with economic challenges, have forced us to reconsider how we deliver health and social care in our community. One approach, which has gained increased attention towards delivering innovative, empowering older people and carers, and cost-effective healthcare, is the emergence of Connected Health through the use of information and communication technology (ICT). Connected Health aims to utilise the connectivity of technologies to support independent living. A Connected Health ecosystem may be defined as a community within a specific environment (e.g. homecare) which interact within a healthcare system though a relational infrastructure enabled by key components (e.g. healthcare technologies, economic and legislation) and enables connectivity between older people, healthcare professionals, and carers. To understand the impact of Connected Health technologies, health informatics can play a critical role.
Changing demographics coupled with reducing resources are placing increasing pressures on health systems across the globe. New care models must ensure patient quality of life while reducing costs and maintaining or improving clinical outcomes. Connected health is an emerging model of care ensuring stakeholders are ‘connected’ by means of timely sharing and presentation of accurate and pertinent information regarding patient status. This poses many exciting questions and opportunities to design new healthcare delivery models.
Health informatics is an interdisciplinary field including computer science, social science, management science and information science to deliver safer, higher quality and increased efficiency in healthcare. The field of health informatics offers an exciting opportunity to provide a significant impact across society. We are exploring the application of information and communications technology (ICT) in healthcare to recognise its complexity but offer solutions to utilise resources in a more effective and efficient manner to deliver healthcare. Our work focuses on transforming healthcare models by analysing, designing, implementing, and evaluating the impact of ICT to enhance health outcomes, improve patient care, and strengthen the clinician-patient relationship.
Teaching health informatics provides an opportunity for students to make a difference to the lives of patients and the healthcare professionals at various levels in interpreting and managing healthcare information. Specifically, students can become increasingly involved in developing information systems to support patient records, scheduling, billing and performance improvement. Other exciting opportunities exist in developing computer systems to support patient monitoring, medical decision-making, medical image processing and medical diagnostics. In addition, the application of data mining techniques (often used in the business world) can be applied to discover how personalised care pathways or encourage us to adopt a proactive and preventative healthcare model rather than a reactive and treatment healthcare model which we traditionally rely on.
Healthcare Evaluation Models
Connected health is an innovative and applied approach to introduce new healthcare delivery models that leverages the systematic application of information and communication technology (ICT). The process of transmitting healthcare data into patient information is a key process and resource in the emergence and realisation of Connected Health. Therefore, the various techniques and technologies employed to facilitate healthcare decision-making, the accessibility and sharing of information are critical to the success of Connected Health developments. However, we should be mindful that the underlying principle of Connected Health goes beyond the healthcare context and extends across a much wider management, community and other stakeholders views. While there are significant promise in Connected Health tools and technologies, evaluating its impact requires additional attention which justifies it contribution as an innovative healthcare delivery approach. Example of this include:
- A Connected Health Evaluation Framework
- An Overview of the Regulatory Environment for Connected Health
- Hospital & Community Pharmacy Practice and Management: Towards an e-Health Strategy
- Estonian Personalised Medicine Pilot Project Evaluation Methodology
- Software Quality Plan: A Review Report (TRANSFoRm EU Project)
Breakfast Briefing: An Overview of the Regulatory Environment for Connected Health (File: Regulations_Breakfast Brief_Noel Carroll)