Digitally excluded and vulnerable people will benefit from new guidance for NHS leaders, to ensure that the digital health services and products they are commissioning are inclusive and accessible to all.
The guide provides resources for local commissioners to support digital inclusion in their area and sets out the practical steps that they can take, including working with a range of community partners.
The NHS and the wider health and care system is committed to delivering information and services digitally whenever appropriate.
Digital health services and products can result in more effective delivery of care and better outcomes for patients. For patients, they can improve access to information and services, and increase control of their own health and shared care.
The guide includes information on:
- why digital inclusion is important
- the benefits to NHS organisations and people
- how to build digital inclusion into service and product delivery locally
- examples of best practice in action and a directory of available resources
The guide is available on the NHS Digital website and is part of the Widening Digital Participation programme.
Nicola Gill, Programme Lead for Widening Digital Participation, said: “Increasing digital inclusion can help to reduce health inequalities and save money by directing people away from more costly face to face care.
“Research has shown that many of the people who could most benefit from digital services are the least likely to be online. One in five people lack basic digital skills and one in twelve have never been online. These people are likely to be older, less educated and in poorer health than the rest of the population.
“The aim of this guide is to support commissioners and decision makers to embed the principles of digital inclusion in every aspect of their planning and development.”
Juliet Bauer, NHS England’s chief digital officer, said: “For 70 years the NHS has provided easily accessible services for the public, as the NHS looks to the next 70 years and starts to offer more services online it is vital we remain as inclusive as we’ve always been.
“This new guide will ensure local NHS staff have all the tools and information they need to create and design new digital NHS services that leave no one behind.”
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Notes to editors
1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system. Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend. During the 2017/18 financial year, NHS Digital published 275 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.
2. Digital Inclusion is defined as:
• Digital skills – being able to use computers and the internet
• Connectivity and access to the internet – having the right infrastructure
• Accessibility – services designed to meet all user needs including those dependent on assistive technology to access digital services.
3. A beta version of the guide was published on the Widening Digital Participation pages of the NHS Digital website, in January. Key audiences were invited to comment and feedback.
4. For media enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0300 30 33 888.