National Telemedicine and Telehealth Policy Context in England and Introduction of Digital Innovations for Detection and Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Ala Szczepura, Sue Eaton, Leeza Osipenko, Stavros Petrou, Debrorah Biggerstaff

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Abstract

Chlamydia is the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) among young people aged 16-24 years old. The infection is largely asymptomatic and therefore regular screening is required to detect, treat and identify those at risk. If left untreated, chlamydia can result in serious long term consequences, particularly for women.
These include pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Current levels of screening in the England cover only a small proportion of the eligible population.
Technological advances offer the opportunity to redesign existing asymptomatic chlamydia screening/testing and treatment pathways in England, leading to increased testing uptake, higher treatment rates and reduced disease transmission. Innovations underway include self-tests networked through mobile phones, combined with online clinical care and other non-face-to-face care pathways. Two levels of integration of technology into mainstream sexual health services are possible. The most ambitious is a fully remote online
pathway incorporating a self-test, plus online treatment and partner notification. A less ambitious service would consist of postal home sampling kits with a partial remote online pathway for results notification, treatment provision and partner notification.
In this article we discuss the current state of adoption of new technologies in the sexual health service delivery pathway within the overall context of digital technology use in England, the emergence of a national digital health policy, and challenges to the adoption of telemedicine and telehealth technologies. Consideration of these aspects should help technology developers, policy makers and service providers to optimize future technology adoption and service re-design in STI care or related clinical areas.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalSM Journal of Clinical Medicine
Volume3
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

Keywords

  • mHealth
  • Telemedicine
  • Health policy
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Digital innovation
  • Screening

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