Healthcare systems worldwide are striving for the “quadruple aim” of better population health and well-being, improved experience of care, healthcare team well-being (including that of carers) and lower system costs. By shifting the balance of care from reactive to preventive by facilitating the integration of data between patients and clinicians to support prevention, early diagnosis and care at home, many technological solutions exist to support this ambition. Yet few have been mainstreamed in the NHS. This is particularly the case in English coastal areas which, despite having a substantially higher burden of physical and mental health conditions and poorer health outcomes, also experience inequalities with respect to digital maturity. In this paper, we suggest ways in which digital health technologies (DHTs) can support a greater shift towards prevention; discuss barriers to digital transformation in coastal communities; and highlight ways in which central, regional and local bodes can enable transformation. Given a real risk that variations in digital maturity may be exacerbating coastal health inequalities, we call on health and care policy leaders and service managers to understands the potential benefits of a digital future and the risks of failing to address the digital divide.



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Frontiers of Health Services Management



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Peninsula Medical School