Skip to main content

Policy in Digital Healthcare


Background and policy challenges

Policy decisions about the use of digital healthcare technologies are fraught with complexity, as the progress and outcomes of recent national programmes demonstrate. Some challenging current policy issues include:

  • The certification of systems for clinical use
  • Legal liability for alleged negligence resulting from their use
  • Engaging clinical staff and training them to use these new technologies, and to adopt the new role of “telecaring”
  • The advertising of telehealth services to the public for purchase via their personal health budget
  • Learning from the experiences of other sectors and countries
  • What constitutes evidence of safety and effectiveness for telehealth systems ?

Methods used and examples of our policy work

We carry out policy analysis in collaboration with expert advisors in legal, ethical, economic and other disciplines to review the evidence and construct reasoned arguments to inform the work of policy makers and strategists. Examples of our published digital healthcare policy work include:

  • Analysis of the benefits and risks of Open Source software in healthcare, JIMR 2011ABC Medical Informatics
  • Comparison of national scale information exchange policies and progress in the UK and USA, JAMIA 2011
  • A survey of progress on EPR implementation across the 4 countries of the UK using FOI requests, submitted BMJ 2011
  • A stated choice experiment to assess high level requirements for patient records systems in 300 GPs, JECP 2010
  • Studies on public attitudes to the re-use of anonymised patient data for research purposes, JECP 2010
  • Analysis of the evidence on record sharing— report for the Royal College of General Practitioners, 2009
  • Analysis of the evidence on telemedicine and telemonitoring—for the US Medicaid MED programme, 2008
  • Increasing clinical engagement in digital healthcare activities through series of tutorial articles in the Lancet (1991, 1994, 1998), BMJ (2005) and JRSM (2001) & the BMJ ABC of Health Informatics book, 2006 (translated into 3 languages)
  • Implications of the telecaring role for the training and working practices of clinicians—for the Institute of Public Policy Research, 2002
  • Verifying the safety & quality of digital health information services using a “EuroSeal”—for the EU, BMJ 2002
  • Implication of digital healthcare for future housing and other buildings—for Nuffield Trust, 2000
  • Foresight Report on the implications of Digital Healthcare, 2000—for DTI

We are currently developing an independent Digital Healthcare Policy Forum with multi-sector membership to debate and progress such issues under Chatham House rules. All enquiries to j dot c dot wyatt at warwick dot ac dot uk