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Saira Ghafur

2016-17 Harkness Fellow Physician in Respiratory and General Internal Medicine Yorkshire Deanery Honorary Fellow, NHS England

Placement: The Commonwealth Fund

Mentor: Eric Schneider, M.D. (Senior Vice President for Policy and Research, The Commonwealth Fund)

Project Title: Patient-facing Digital Technology: What Can Healthcare Learn from Other Industries to Improve Patient Engagement and Adoption?

Saira Ghafur MB ChB, MRCP, M.Sc., is a 2016-17 U.K. Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice. Ghafur is a physician approaching the end of her specialist training in Respiratory and General Internal Medicine at the Yorkshire Deanery. She is also currently an honorary fellow at NHS England. Previously, Saira served as a Clinical Fellow to the National Medical Director at NHS England, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh. This prestigious fellowship allowed her to work closely with the primary care and innovation teams on the development of strategies to engage clinicians and the wider healthcare industry. Ghafur was subsequently the workforce lead for the New Care Models program, an NHS initiative including more than 260 health and social care organizations acting as vanguards to develop locally designed care models to serve as blueprints for the National Health Service in England. Ghafur has completed a M.Sc. in Health Policy from Imperial College, London. Ghafur has previously completed a fellowship in quality improvement at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals where she was trained by the Dartmouth Institute as an improvement coach. Ghafur received her medical degree from University of Dundee Medical School.

Project Abstract:

Over the past decade, digital technologies have markedly altered almost all market sectors in the way that services are delivered to consumers. Consumer behavior has also changed, with business models adapting and being replaced by innovative and intuitive models that deliver what the customer needs or wants. Healthcare has often seemed to lag behind other industries such as online banking and retail; however, over the past few years, there has been a shift in mind-set and digital technologies are increasingly available for both patients and clinicians to use.

The purpose of this research will be to learn from industries that have used digital technology to meet consumer needs. The project will examine what healthcare can learn from these industries in terms of improving consumer engagement to adopt online applications, and learn from the challenges of regulating digital models used in these sectors. The research will aim to highlight the issues that are seen across industry and health care, as well as those that are specific to health care. The second part of the project will help identify the policy levers required to make patient facing mHealth more secure. The findings generated will be relevant in both the U.S and U.K. in terms of understanding factors that influence the scale and spread of interventions from successful organizations/sectors, highlighting issues that impede their adoption, and the level of regulation needed for the industry.