Building trust in healthcare technology

01 June 2021 in

Blog updated 18 March 2022

Technology is revolutionising healthcare - allowing you to access expert advice from wherever you are or have medicines delivered straight to your home.

Unfortunately, there can be risks associated with the pharmacies, telemedicine providers or condition management apps. The internet has no borders, and there's no internationally-recognised organisation certifying digital healthcare providers, which means the digital healthcare market remains largely unregulated.

As a result, it can be hard to tell whether you're purchasing from a trustworthy provider or engaging with someone who may lack the qualifications and expertise needed to provide a safe, high-quality service.

When you purchase prescription drugs online, there's a chance you could be sold medication that's out-of-date, diluted or fake. Worse, you may find you accidentally order unlicensed or unregulated medicines that have not been properly tested.

When you use an app on your smartphone to access treatment or advice, there’s also a risk you'll engage with an organisation that lacks the accreditations, knowledge or skill needed to provide effective care. Apps claiming to offer services such as sight tests, or relief from tinnitus via your mobile phone should be backed by clinical trials or peer-reviewed research, but often this isn't the case.

Of course, there are many fantastic services available, and more and more of these are backed by clinical evidence. But how do you separate the ones that work from the gimmicks? Even if you know where to look for them, medical research papers can be dense and difficult to understand. More often than not, these studies make it very difficult for you to tell whether there's evidence to support the treatment that’s being offered, or whether you’d be better off waiting to see a doctor.

We think that’s a shame, because technology does have the potential to provide some truly groundbreaking treatment options - as long as we can find a reliable way to filter the good from the bad.

Creating a gold standard in healthcare technology

As services move online, platforms are created to help customers find, compare and decide on what's best for them. We can see this trend in the many apps and websites that now allow you to find the best restaurant, the most convenient accommodation, or the fastest transport options.

Here at Healthily, we want to offer you the same convenience when searching for healthcare services. In today’s access economy, we believe you should have the ability to search for medical apps, services and medicines without worrying about whether you’re going to be sold substandard products, or offered ineffective care. To enable this, we’ve set about creating a rigorous vetting process and invited leading healthcare services to apply to become our partners.

Our vetting process is in-depth and comprehensive. We look at everything from the credentials of the healthcare professionals and staff, right through to the provider’s internal processes and whether they comply with data privacy legislation. We also look for compliance with the standards set by local regulatory bodies, and device accreditation if the provider uses technology to deliver their service.

We test every service for ourselves, just as a customer would. Where relevant, our in-house medical team will also assess the research used to provide an evidence base for new treatment options, combing through clinical trials and research papers to verify that the service is effective, and based on good science.

In most cases, we spend between 2 to 4 weeks vetting a new provider, this allows us to ensure that they are providing the kind of service you can rely on. Providers that pass our rigorous vetting procedure are then awarded the ‘Healthily Approved’ badge to signify the partnership, and listed on our marketplace so that it’s nice and easy for you to search for innovative healthcare solutions.

All of this hard work takes time and effort, but it means you can trust any organisation that carries our badge of approval. It also means you can explore the services without worrying about whether the treatments are safe or reliable.

What types of healthcare technology partners do we access?

Every partner we work with has been assessed using our rigorous vetting procedure. This includes:

Online prescription services

These services allow you to order prescription and non-prescription medicines online, whether for collection or for delivery straight to your door. Some online pharmacies also provide a digital consultation service too.

We pay particular attention to the way in which these providers verify your prescription, and also take good care to ensure they’re compliant with the standards set by local regulatory bodies.

Online booking services

These platforms allow you to make appointments online, and check to see when you can next book an appointment with a doctor.

These services are a fantastic convenience, but it's important to ensure that they are safeguarding your information properly. Alongside our other criteria, we also pay particular attention to how they select which health care professionals you can book with and why.

Condition management services

These include websites and applications which are designed to help you monitor chronic illnesses, and generally include features like medication reminders, symptom tracking, information and support.

Condition management apps are carefully vetted to ensure that they are safe, provide good healthcare advice and have appropriate device accreditation if relevant. We also take great care to ensure that all of the condition management apps have had content created by appropriately qualified professionals and follow information governance standards.

Medical testing services

These are typically websites that make it easy for you to get tested for an illness or screen for certain conditions using software, without needing to visit a doctor.

These services are vetted according to a rigorous set of criteria and often take the most time to assess. We always check to ensure there's a good evidence base for the testing that they perform, and that counselling and support is offered where relevant.

Telemedicine providers

These include organisations that offer online consultations, mobile health platforms or remote patient monitoring services.

These services generally focus on using mobile technology to deliver doctor-led services straight to your device. They reduce the need to travel, and remove problems around ease of access which makes them a great option for people that live remotely or have problems travelling to see a doctor. We check that all healthcare professionals have the appropriate qualifications and experience, as well as ensuring that various ‘red flag’ situations are handled appropriately.

Other innovative treatment providers

There are many other services which seek to provide treatment via a computer, tablet or smartphone. As with all the services mentioned above, we pay particular attention to the evidence base for these treatment options, and only list them if they meet our rigorous criteria.

Healthily™ a healthcare technology name you can trust

At Healthily, we recognise both the incredible opportunities that technology brings to healthcare as well as the risks that can be associated with identifying safe and reliable services online.

Every service listed has been thoroughly reviewed by our in-house medical team to give you the peace of mind you deserve.

Our team of doctors have also categorised every service so that if you use either of our Android or iOS applications you'll also be recommended services direct from our Health A-Z library.

Want to find out more?

If you're interested in partnering with us, or would like to speak to an expert about AI health solutions for your business, get in touch.

Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.

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