Digital health, health economics and Zombies!

What do digital health, health economics, making better decisions, and zombies have in common? Much more than you think!

We recently attended the the Digital Art of the Possible 2  (DAP2) event hosted by the West of England Academic Health Science Network (WEAHSN) with our good friend, Charles Lowe, from the Digital Health and Care Alliance .  At the DAP2 event, the future of digital health technology in the NHS was discussed including case studies of what has worked well across the area. Elisabeth said a few words about the importance of digital health technology to businesses and the NHS (video).

Elisabeth and Charles delivered a workshop to help people understand how health economists think, focusing on the economic benefits of new health technology. To complete a health economics evaluation, we must understand how care is currently delivered, how the care pathway may change with a new product or service, and estimate the costs of the pathways. One also needs to identify the outcomes that can be estimated, and understand the relationship between those costs and outcomes.

We designed a workshop to look at new technology that could be used to help with a simulated impending Zombie outbreak. We asked the attendees to map out and think about costing their potential Zombie care pathways. We also asked them think about different outcomes that may be important to different stakeholders in the NHS. Finally, we gave a small thought experiment to show how a model can help their thinking and decision-making process.

At this point, you may be thinking, ‘that sounds great…but why Zombies?’ Zombies are a great teaching tool for healthcare experts because they remove people’s biases about care, diseases, or service delivery which helps them to focus on the key concepts, plus it’s a lot of fun! We got some great feedback from those in attendance and felt encouraged that nearly everyone there came away with some new skills.

Jo Bangoura, Evaluation & Commissioning Liaison Manager at the West of England AHSN, who invited us to give this workshop commented, “This engaging workshop was a useful and practical introduction to health economics. Using a Zombie outbreak as a working example was a great leveller, and I will take away the importance of breaking down a pathway into its component parts in order to begin to cost it.  Many thanks.

If you’re curious to learn more about health economics, what we at Aquarius do, or if you would like to schedule a health economic workshop – zombie-flavoured or other – for your office, please contact us.

By Mike Harvey

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