Using digital technology to improve the public's health: a guide for local authorities

In an era of constrained budgets, it is clear making the most of digital technology is essential. It can drive efficiency and deliver value for money in a multitude of ways as well as benefiting the health and wellbeing of individuals.

Digital public health is about so much more than apps and social media. Up and down the country councils have been working with their partners – both public and private – to innovate and pilot new ways of working.

For example, in Hertfordshire wearable sensors worn during an exercise class have allowed for a quick and accurate assessment of an individual’s fall risk instead of a half hour assessment taking place.

Meanwhile, in London a pilot where pharmacies used a handheld mobile device to test for irregular heartbeats has reduced the time from testing to treatment from 12 weeks to under three.

This report reflects a snapshot of what is going on. Five years from now the picture will look very different again. That is the nature of the fast-changing world of digital technologies. It is one we in public health cannot afford to be left behind on.

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