A pinboard by
Gloria Iyawa

Lecturer, University of Namibia


Digital health innovation ecosystems

This paper presents the result of a study which aimed at identifying the potential stakeholders of a digital health innovation ecosystem as well as the perceived benefits of a digital health innovation ecosystem for the Namibian context. Combining semi-structured interviews and qualitative questionnaires, a group of professionals from within the Namibian context and the global context were purposively selected to provide insights into who constitute potential stakeholders of a digital health innovation ecosystem as well as the perceived benefits of a digital health innovation ecosystem for the Namibian context. The study adopted a qualitative approach. The main findings of the study suggest that stakeholders of a digital health innovation ecosystem include patients as well as professionals from various disciplines. Some of the perceived benefits of implementing such an ecosystem for the Namibian context include improved healthcare delivery and improved healthcare for patients. The findings of this study contribute to the emerging body of literature on digital health innovation ecosystems, specifically in developing countries. Furthermore, the findings of the study will inform relevant healthcare policy makers within the Namibian context in planning and implementing a digital health innovation ecosystem for Namibia.


Annual Research Review: Digital health interventions for children and young people with mental health problems: a systematic and meta-review.

Abstract: Digital health interventions (DHIs), including computer-assisted therapy, smartphone apps and wearable technologies, are heralded as having enormous potential to improve uptake and accessibility, efficiency, clinical effectiveness and personalisation of mental health interventions. It is generally assumed that DHIs will be preferred by children and young people (CYP) given their ubiquitous digital activity. However, it remains uncertain whether: DHIs for CYP are clinically and cost-effective, CYP prefer DHIs to traditional services, DHIs widen access and how they should be evaluated and adopted by mental health services. This review evaluates the evidence-base for DHIs and considers the key research questions and approaches to evaluation and implementation.We conducted a meta-review of scoping, narrative, systematic or meta-analytical reviews investigating the effectiveness of DHIs for mental health problems in CYP. We also updated a systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of DHIs for CYP published in the last 3 years.Twenty-one reviews were included in the meta-review. The findings provide some support for the clinical benefit of DHIs, particularly computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT), for depression and anxiety in adolescents and young adults. The systematic review identified 30 new RCTs evaluating DHIs for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders and PTSD. The benefits of DHIs in managing ADHD, autism, psychosis and eating disorders are uncertain, and evidence is lacking regarding the cost-effectiveness of DHIs.Key methodological limitations make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions from existing clinical trials of DHIs. Issues include variable uptake and engagement with DHIs, lack of an agreed typology/taxonomy for DHIs, small sample sizes, lack of blinded outcome assessment, combining different comparators, short-term follow-up and poor specification of the level of human support. Research and practice recommendations are presented that address the key research questions and methodological issues for the evaluation and clinical implementation of DHIs for CYP.

Pub.: 13 Dec '16, Pinned: 20 Jun '17

Barriers and facilitators to patient and public engagement and recruitment to digital health interventions: protocol of a systematic review of qualitative studies.

Abstract: Patients and the public are beginning to use digital health tools to assist in managing chronic illness, support independent living and self-care, and remain connected to health and care providers. However, engaging with and enrolling in digital health interventions, such as telehealth systems, mobile health applications, patient portals and personal health records, in order to use them varies considerably. Many factors affect people's ability to engage with and sign up to digital health platforms.The primary aim is to identify the barriers and facilitators patients and the public experience to engagement and recruitment to digital health interventions. The secondary aim is to identify engagement and enrolment strategies, leading if possible to a taxonomy of such approaches, and a conceptual framework of digital health engagement and recruitment processes.A systematic review of qualitative studies will be conducted by searching six databases: MEDLINE, CINAHL, PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus and the ACM Digital Library for papers published between 2000 and 2015. Titles and abstracts along with full-text papers will be screened by two independent reviewers against predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria. A data extraction form will be used to provide details of the included studies. Quality assessment will be conducted using the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research checklist. Any disagreements will be resolved through discussion with an independent third reviewer. Analysis will be guided by framework synthesis and informed by normalization process theory and burden of treatment theory, to aid conceptualisation of digital health engagement and recruitment processes.This systematic review of qualitative studies will explore factors affecting engagement and enrolment in digital health interventions. It will advance our understanding of readiness for digital health by examining the complex factors that affect patients' and the public's ability to take part.CRD42015029846.

Pub.: 04 Sep '16, Pinned: 20 Jun '17

Adaptation and Feasibility Study of a Digital Health Program to Prevent Diabetes among Low-Income Patients: Results from a Partnership between a Digital Health Company and an Academic Research Team.

Abstract: Background. The feasibility of digital health programs to prevent and manage diabetes in low-income patients has not been adequately explored. Methods. Researchers collaborated with a digital health company to adapt a diabetes prevention program for low-income prediabetes patients at a large safety net clinic. We conducted focus groups to assess patient perspectives, revised lessons for improved readability and cultural relevance to low-income and Hispanic patients, conducted a feasibility study of the adapted program in English and Spanish speaking cohorts, and implemented real-time adaptations to the program for commercial use and for a larger trial of in multiple safety net clinics. Results. The majority of focus group participants were receptive to the program. We modified the curriculum to a 5th-grade reading level and adapted content based on patient feedback. In the feasibility study, 54% of eligible contacted patients expressed interest in enrolling (n = 23). Although some participants' computer access and literacy made registration challenging, they were highly satisfied and engaged (80% logged in at least once/week). Conclusions. Underserved prediabetic patients displayed high engagement and satisfaction with a digital diabetes prevention program despite lower digital literacy skills. The collaboration between researchers and a digital health company enabled iterative improvements in technology implementation to address challenges in low-income populations.

Pub.: 22 Nov '16, Pinned: 20 Jun '17

Readiness for Delivering Digital Health at Scale: Lessons From a Longitudinal Qualitative Evaluation of a National Digital Health Innovation Program in the United Kingdom.

Abstract: Digital health has the potential to support care delivery for chronic illness. Despite positive evidence from localized implementations, new technologies have proven slow to become accepted, integrated, and routinized at scale.The aim of our study was to examine barriers and facilitators to implementation of digital health at scale through the evaluation of a £37m national digital health program: ‟Delivering Assisted Living Lifestyles at Scale" (dallas) from 2012-2015.The study was a longitudinal qualitative, multi-stakeholder, implementation study. The methods included interviews (n=125) with key implementers, focus groups with consumers and patients (n=7), project meetings (n=12), field work or observation in the communities (n=16), health professional survey responses (n=48), and cross program documentary evidence on implementation (n=215). We used a sociological theory called normalization process theory (NPT) and a longitudinal (3 years) qualitative framework analysis approach. This work did not study a single intervention or population. Instead, we evaluated the processes (of designing and delivering digital health), and our outcomes were the identified barriers and facilitators to delivering and mainstreaming services and products within the mixed sector digital health ecosystem.We identified three main levels of issues influencing readiness for digital health: macro (market, infrastructure, policy), meso (organizational), and micro (professional or public). Factors hindering implementation included: lack of information technology (IT) infrastructure, uncertainty around information governance, lack of incentives to prioritize interoperability, lack of precedence on accountability within the commercial sector, and a market perceived as difficult to navigate. Factors enabling implementation were: clinical endorsement, champions who promoted digital health, and public and professional willingness.Although there is receptiveness to digital health, barriers to mainstreaming remain. Our findings suggest greater investment in national and local infrastructure, implementation of guidelines for the safe and transparent use and assessment of digital health, incentivization of interoperability, and investment in upskilling of professionals and the public would help support the normalization of digital health. These findings will enable researchers, health care practitioners, and policy makers to understand the current landscape and the actions required in order to prepare the market and accelerate uptake, and use of digital health and wellness services in context and at scale.

Pub.: 18 Feb '17, Pinned: 20 Jun '17