Digital technology is a significant part of our daily lives. It has changed the way we interact with each other, the services we use, and the ways we work.
The NHS is no exception. Digital technology has begun to change the way health and care services are delivered. And the Covid-19 pandemic radically accelerated the use of these technologies – speeding the transition to delivering remote care, for example.
Every technological change brings advantages and drawbacks. The best uses of new technology will realise the gains while minimising the risks: both sides of this equation need to be identified and planned for.
Widening inequalities is a widely cited risk. A significant proportion of people are currently digitally excluded, meaning they are unable to engage in digital care. Furthermore, people who are digitally excluded are more likely to be socially disadvantaged and already experience health inequality.
So how can we reap the benefits of digital health while not worsening inequalities? What barriers do digitally excluded people face, and how can they be overcome?
We have published an evidence signpost and an evidence scan on digital inclusion covering such questions (links below).
This work was commissioned by Hereford and Worcestershire ICS prior to the Covid-19 pandemic to help support their ‘Primary Care Accelerator Programme’. Findings are likely to be of use to others planning digital health care.
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