Background and purpose:
The purpose of this white paper is to offer countries an agreed set of ‘standard’ benefits categories and potential outcome measures to support the international comparison of evidence relating to digital health technologies and services. This will assist with comparing evaluation results between Global Global Digital Health Partnership (GDHP) participant countries and growing the international research and evidence base for different digital health technologies and services. To capture the information from participant countries, a survey using a nominal group technique was distributed. This approach sought to develop a consensus of important benefits and measurements categories for digital health evaluations, and to prioritise (or rank) responses into the most important benefits categories when evaluating digital health technologies.
Concurrently, a rapid review of the international literature was undertaken during July and August 2019. This rapid review sought to identify international literature on the evaluation methods and proximal measurements used in the studies of digital health benefits categories. A range of academic databases and search engines were used to complete this literature review. The literature review data was supported with a nominal group technique to develop a pragmatic guide for policy makers in different countries who are considering evaluating the benefits of their digital health technologies.
1. Digital Health Safety and Quality benefits categories were considered the highest priority for most GDHP countries, including the most highly rated standard categories to include in the global standard set of benefits categories.
2. Digital Health Efficacy was the most investigated benefits category in the literature, and Digital Health Equity was the least investigated benefits category in the literature.
3. The evidence from the literature review and nominal group study showed that evaluations of digital health technologies and services frequently included more than one or multiple overlapping benefits categories.
4. Standard benefits categories that were supported by GDHP participants for inclusion when undertaking benefits evaluations of digital health technologies and services include safety, quality, efficacy, equity, improved end-user experience, efficiency and population health improvements including health service planning and other secondary uses of data.
5. A conceptual model of benefits categories is proposed that groups benefits categories into three different areas of evaluation purpose, being: improving healthcare service delivery; improving adoption of digital health services; and supporting systems change. In this way, policy makers can prioritise the use of particular benefits categories depending upon the requirement to demonstrate different aspects of benefit for a given digital health technology or service.