Digitally enabled care in diverse environments (DECIDE) programme

The Oxford-RAND Europe programme for rapid evaluation of technology-enabled remote monitoring

Hand holding a smartphone displaying a medical professional holding a heart, with medical icons emanating out of the phone, photo by ipopba/Getty Images

What is the issue?

There is a growing demand for health and social care. We need to make sure that people get the right care, at the right time and in the right place. This has led to increased interest in how we can improve the way health and care is delivered, and how technology can help achieve this aim. This is important in efforts to improve people’s health and wellbeing in equitable ways. It is also important for tackling the increased pressures that health and care services face, such as long waiting times for access to care, limited bed space in hospitals and workforce shortages.

Technology-enabled remote monitoring has the potential to improve care quality, reduce length of stay in hospitals, prevent infection transmission and allow people to access care safely, at a suitable time and location. However, better evidence is needed to understand this potential and how to capture it in practice.

What is DECIDE?

DECIDE (digitally enabled care in diverse environments) is a programme for the rapid evaluation of technology-enabled remote monitoring in health and care. Funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Health and Social Care Delivery Research (HSDR) programme, DECIDE is a partnership between the University of Oxford and RAND Europe. The overall programme director at the University of Oxford is Prof. Sara Shaw and the RAND Europe lead is Dr. Sonja Marjanovic.

What is technology-enabled remote monitoring?

Technology-enabled remote monitoring involves the use of technology, devices or apps to help people who take up care and support to monitor and manage their ill-health, disability, or limiting long-term physical or mental health conditions or general well-being. It also seeks to enable the remote exchange of information, primarily between a service-user and health or care professionals, and to assist them in diagnosis, monitoring and management of better health and wellbeing. For some people, technology-enabled remote monitoring also aims to help them gain control and live more independent lives.

Remote monitoring is being tested and/or used in the UK for diverse conditions such as respiratory and heart diseases, especially since its use gained momentum during the COVID-19 pandemic. There may also be potential to expand its uses to benefit more people and services. However, the knowledge base on the impacts of this way of delivering care is fragmented and piecemeal, and there is a need for improved evidence to inform decisions about its adoption and use.

Why is rapid evaluation of technology-enabled remote monitoring needed now?

There is still a lot we do not know about technology-enabled remote monitoring, for example whether different types of remote monitoring work as intended; when they work, how and for whom. There is a need to rapidly assess promising remote monitoring practices quickly and accurately to help improve the evidence base and facilitate informed decision-making about the adoption, spread and scale of this way of delivering services.

How are we helping?

The DECIDE team aims to generate evidence and insights through evaluations of technology-enabled remote monitoring services, to help support patients, users, carers and those who commission remote monitoring services to provide and receive high quality care, and to ensure decision-makers make informed decisions.

decide: digitally enabled care in diverse environments logo, RAND Europe

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