Question Time 2: Welcome to Gemma Donovan our new Head of Digital Therapeutics Development – under the spotlight

Digital Therapeutics

We have put our new Head of Digital Therapeutics Development, Gemma Donovan, under the spotlight in this month’s Question Time.

Gemma brings a wealth of NHS, research and existing Florence experience.

I was awarded a National Institute for Health Doctoral Research Fellowship to Florence…

Q. Please briefly describe your career background?

I qualified as a pharmacist in 2009 and initially worked in community pharmacies and then GP practices.

In 2013 I took up a joint post working as an academic at the University of Sunderland and a pharmacist in the Medicines Optimisation Team at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group which is where I was originally introduced to Florence!

I then decided to apply for and was subsequently awarded a National Institute for Health Doctoral Research Fellowship to explore how Florence could be used to support people with taking medication, particularly where they have multiple long-term conditions, and whether Florence could be delivered from community pharmacies.

This involved learning a lot about behaviour change and how patients make decisions about their health and their medicines. I’ve also worked on projects looking at antimicrobial stewardship, deprescribing, shared care, opioids, and palliative care pathways.

I have a lot of experience working in the NHS, conducting research, and doing evaluations. I also love working with patients as part of my projects to make use of their expertise and for them to inform the work I do.

Q. What are you most excited about, working for Florence?

I’m really excited about using my experience and expertise to optimise how Florence can support patients and clinicians to make better healthcare decisions by supporting health behaviours.

Q. Where do you see the challenges facing digital health technology and healthcare, and what do you think Florence can do to support the healthcare ecosystem?

Most of the actions that patients can take to improve their health happen outside the healthcare setting, and often with little support. Florence fills this gap.

Our pathways help clinicians to design the support they want to provide to patients (but don’t have time for) and Florence delivers this to patients, helping patients make better healthcare decisions and with support.

In turn, patients feel more engaged in their care and this helps clinicians make better decisions with patients going forward.

The biggest challenge I think is how we ensure that patients with multiple long-term conditions are supported, and this applies to both digital and routine healthcare delivery. It’s really important though because we need holistic approaches which help people, not diseases.

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