Identification of Digital Health Priorities for Palliative Care Research: Modified Delphi Study

Amara Callistus Nwosu*, Tamsin McGlinchey, Justin Saunders, Sarah Stanley, Jennifer Palfrey, Patrick Lubbers, Laura Chapman, Anne Finucane, Stephen Mason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Developments in digital health has the potential to transform the delivery of health and social care to help citizens manage their own health. Currently there is a lack consensus about digital health research priorities in palliative care and a lack theories about how these technologies might improve care outcomes. Therefore, it is important for healthcare leaders to identify innovations to ensure that an increasingly frail population have appropriate access to palliative care services. Consequently, it is important to articulate research priorities as the first step to determine how we should allocate finite resources to a field saturated with rapidly developing innovations.
To identify research priority areas for digital health in palliative care.
We selected the digital health trends, most relevant to palliative care, from a list of emerging trends reported by a world-leading Institute of quantitative futurists. We conducted two rounds of Delphi questionnaire, followed by a consensus meeting and a public engagement workshop to establish final consensus on research priorities for digital technology in palliative care. We used the views of public representatives to gain their perspectives of the agreed priorities.
One hundred and three experts (representing 11 countries) participated in the 1st Delphi round. Fifty-five participated in the 2nd round (53% of 1st round). Eleven experts attended the final consensus meeting. We identified 16 priorities areas,which involved many applications of technologies, including care for patients and 4 caregivers, self-management and reporting of disease, education and training,communication, care coordination and research methodology. We summarised the priority areas into eight topic areas, which were: big data, mobile devices, telehealth and telemedicine, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, the smart home, biotechnology and digital legacy.
The identified priorities in this paper represent a wide range of important emerging areas in field of digital health, personalised medicine, and data science. Human-centred design and robust governance systems should be considered in future research. It is important that the risks of using these technologies in palliative care are properly addressed to ensure that these tools are used meaningfully, wisely and safely and do not cause unintentional harm.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJMIR Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • palliative care
  • terminal care
  • supportive care
  • quality of life
  • symptom management
  • digital health
  • technology


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