Saturday, June 22, 2024

Revolutionizing Digital Health Technology Assessment: A Comprehensive Review

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In an era where digital health technology (dHT) emerges as a pivotal solution to the myriad challenges faced by global health care systems, the importance of a methodical assessment framework cannot be overstated. A recent scoping review delves into the methodologies employed in digital health technology assessments (dHTA), shedding light on the necessity for evolved frameworks that can more accurately gauge the impact and value of dHTs. This exploration is critical, given the rapid advancement of digital health solutions and the imperative to ensure their efficacy, safety, and benefit to health systems and patient well-being.

The review, guided by the PRISMA-ScR guidelines, embarked on a comprehensive search across seven databases, filtering through a decade’s worth of literature. From an initial pool of over three thousand studies, a refined selection of twenty-six was subjected to a rigorous thematic analysis. This process unveiled a diverse array of one hundred and two methodological frameworks, highlighting the vast heterogeneity in how digital health technologies are currently evaluated. The analysis not only identified the varying terminologies but also streamlined them, reducing the complexities into a more coherent proposal for digital health technology assessments methodology.

Structuring Digital Health Technology Assessments into Domains, Dimensions, and Subdimensions

Through meticulous thematic analysis, a novel proposal for a digital health technology assessments framework emerged. This framework categorizes the assessment criteria into twelve domains, thirty-eight dimensions, and eleven subdimensions. Such a hierarchical organization addresses the previous lack of uniformity in dHTA methodologies, offering a structured approach that can potentially standardize how digital health technologies are assessed, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of their impact on healthcare systems and patient outcomes.

A significant diversity exists in the methodologies used for digital health technology assessments, necessitating standardization. The proposed framework categorizes assessment criteria into a hierarchical structure of domains, dimensions, and subdimensions, aiming to provide a comprehensive evaluation of dHTs. This review underscores the importance of evolving traditional health technology assessment frameworks to better suit the unique challenges and opportunities presented by digital health technologies.

Digital Health Technology

A Scoping Review Towards Standardizing Assessments of Digital Health Technologies

The findings of this scoping review are pivotal for stakeholders in the healthcare sector, including policymakers, health technology assessors, and digital health innovators. By advocating for the adaptation or development of new digital health technology assessments frameworks, the study emphasizes the need for a transformation in how digital health technologies are assessed. This is not only to accommodate the rapid pace of technological advancements but also to ensure that such innovations genuinely contribute to the betterment of global healthcare systems and patient health outcomes.

In conclusion, as digital health technologies continue to evolve and become increasingly integrated into healthcare systems, the methodologies used to assess their value and impact must also advance. This scoping review marks a significant step towards achieving a standardized, comprehensive framework for digital health technology assessments, facilitating more informed decisions in the adoption and implementation of digital health solutions.


Original Article: J Med Internet Res. 2024 Apr 10;26:e48694. doi: 10.2196/48694.

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