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.
During the pandemic, teams are now working more remotely to reduce the risk of infection, which has required the rapid implementation of virtual consultation and rehabilitation.
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 patients and their carers in the following ways:
- Stimuli for skilled and functional therapy
- Home practice
- CVD prevention and healthier lifestyles
- Emotional well-being
- 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 with a site set up for physiotherapy for CSP members. 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.
Information on providing online services – guidance from the HCPC
Remote and virtual working
accuRX – NHS endorsed software for remote consultations
Attend Anywhere – widely used in the NHS for video consultations
Physiotools – for creating home based exercise programs
Multi Device Agreements – guide to setting up devices such as tablets to reduce the cost of purchasing apps