This course introduces the field of digital health and the key concepts and definitions in this emerging field. The key topics include Learning Health Systems and Electronic Health Records and various types of digital health technologies to include mobile applications, wearable technologies, health information systems, telehealth, telemedicine, machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data. These technologies are assessed in terms of the key opportunities and challenges to their use and the evidence of their effectiveness in the field of digital health in relation to public health and healthcare globally. The use and application of digital health for COVID-19 forms a case study demonstrating the use of different types of digital health technologies to address key aspects of the response to the virus globally.
Introduction to Digital Health
This module will introduce the key concepts and definitions in digital health. You will soon learn that it is a rapidly changing and emerging field. We will also ask for your thoughts early in this week about your own understanding of digital health. You will then be introduced to the growth in digital health technologies, the global distribution of these technologies and the inequalities that exist in terms of access to, and usage of, different forms of digital health technologies to include smartphones, social media and access to the internet. Given this introduction, you will then be introduced to key examples of how digital health projects have been implemented badly, with an example from the UK through the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) and examples of where it has been extremely successful, for example, Estonia.
Electronic Health Records and Learning Health Systems
In this module, you will firstly be introduced to Electronic Health Records and will learn about what they are, how they have been used and the opportunities and challenges to their use. The focus will then turn to Learning Healthcare Systems, identifying the key components of a good Learning Health System, and analyse some examples of a Learning Health System through strong and weak examples. You will then hear from an expert working at the interface of statistics, data science, and digital health through his work on improving health care safety and quality. Interoperability, a key concept describing how data can be shared across health systems is examined. There will be a variety of learning activities including readings and interactive activities to complement your learning in this module.
Introduction to Digital Health Technologies – Part I
In this module, you will start to be introduced to a range of digital health technologies and their use and application in public health and healthcare globally. The focus of this week will be on mobile applications, wearable technologies and health information systems. You will learn about what they are, examples of how they have been used and advantages and disadvantages to their use. You will also be provided with a real-world case study on the use of a mobile application for Ebola contact tracing and monitoring in Sierra Leone in 2015 during the Ebola epidemic and will be introduced to the opportunities and challenges of applying digital health technologies for epidemic preparedness and response. There will be a variety of learning activities to complement what you have learnt including readings and interactive activities.
Introduction to Digital Health – Part II
In this module, you will be introduced to other digital health technologies such as telehealth and telemedicine, social media, machine learning, artificial intelligence, gamification and behavioural sciences and big data. You will explore these areas through videos, supported readings, reflective questions and interactive activities that assess the role, uses, advantages and disadvantages of these technologies in public health and healthcare globally. This builds on the digital health technologies that you learn about in the previous module.