Can you cut through the static? Enter the #NIHRgetdigital competition and show others how it’s done.

Last week a story caught my eye about how patients with metastatic cancer using a web-based reporitng tool had experienced longer survival rates and other health benefits.   The results were reported to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO 2017) Annual Meeting in Chicago and received a fair bit of attention in the specialist press.  If you want to learn more about the study and its wider implications then this paper by Eric Topol MD is well worth spending your tea-break on.

It caused me to ponder whether the so-called digital revolution in health might actually be starting to make a difference where it matters most: health outcomes for patients and their families.

Tangible examples of the impact of digital technologies on health outcomes are not as common as some would have us believe. Many case studies don’t quite stand-up to closer scrutiny.   Sometimes they are misleading. Often they are simply underwhelming.  They seem to add to the white noise that obscures our view of the future.   But I thought the cancer study was both exciting and encouraging.

A great deal of digital work will continue to be focused on communications, engagement and understanding. There is nothing wrong with this. These new tools have much potential to help us improve the quality and accessibility of information developed for patients, carers and the public.  But again, often these new tools have just resulted in white noise.  One way opf breaking through this is for the NIHR and others to recognise and reward the best of the best.

So, the question is whether you can help the NIHR and others cut through the static…….

There is just over a fortnight left to enter the NIHR’s Let’s Get Digital Competition. The competition (which closes on Friday 30 June 2017) recognises those people involved in NIHR research using video, photography, websites, infographics and online communities to promote research.

The brand new competition has five categories: video, photography, online community, website and infographic. Entries are expected to demonstrate how exciting and interesting NIHR research is. Winning entries will be used to help spread the word about how vital research is to the development of new and better treatments in the NHS.The entries will be promoted across the NIHR’s communications channels and the winning applicants will win a trip to Google’s headquarters in London to learn about all things digital.

Visit for more details and to download the guidance notes.

And you can watch a short video about the competition here.

As an aside you might be interested to know that the NIHR is part the way through to developing its own digital strategy and has been doing so for some months, involving patients, carers and the public along the way.

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