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Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Digital inclusion for health and social care

A guide to help healthcare providers, commissioners, and designers ensure that services delivered digitally are as inclusive as possible, meeting the needs of all sections of the population.

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Digital inclusion for health and social care

Important messages

The NHS, and the wider health and care system, is committed to delivering information and services digitally wherever appropriate.

For patients, digital health can mean better access to information and care, increased convenience, and more opportunities for greater control of their own health and shared care.

For the health and care system digital health can mean more effective delivery of care, better outcomes and reduced costs.

However many of the people who could most benefit from digital services are the least likely to be online. 

Eleven million people (20% of the population of the UK) lack basic digital skills, or do not use digital technology at all. These are likely to be older, less educated and in poorer health than the rest of the population.

Local health and care services should take into account the needs of people who may be digitally excluded.

There is a strong business case for the benefits of improving digital inclusion.

Health and care organisations can work with a range of community partners to improve digital inclusion.

This guide includes a range of resources which can help commissioners and providers to take action locally.

Who this guide is for

This guide to digital inclusion is aimed at local health and care organisations to help them to take practical steps increase access to digital services for all in their communities.

It should be relevant to:

  • commissioners of health and care services, including clinical commissioning groups – so they can take into account the needs of local populations who may be digitally excluded
  • integrated care systems – so they can ensure digital inclusion is central to the design of future services
  • providers of health and care services – so they can ensure services delivered digitally are as inclusive as possible
  • local authorities and voluntary organisations – so they can make the most of partnerships with the health and care sector to improve digital inclusion
  • designers of digital health services – so they can take into account the needs of those who might be digitally excluded, and design inclusive and accessible services

How this guide can help

The guide is intended to help you understand:

  • what we mean by digital inclusion
  • who is likely to be digitally excluded and the barriers they may face
  • why digital inclusion matters in health and care
  • the benefits of supporting people to get online
  • practical steps you can take to support digital inclusion locally
  • the tools you can use to commission, provide and evaluate digital inclusion support
  • resources for developing digital skills of health and care staff, carers and patients

Download the digital inclusion guide for health and social care

Last edited: 7 September 2022 4:27 pm