In partnership with an NHS Trust in East London

The rapid digitisation of services, especially in response to Cv-19, has highlighted the need for even greater awareness of digital inclusion in large parts of the population.

Summary

The rapid digitisation of services, especially in response to Cv-19, has highlighted the need for even greater awareness of digital inclusion in large parts of the population.

Problem

The rapid digitisation of services, especially in response to Cv-19, has highlighted the need for even greater awareness of digital inclusion in large parts of the population. This will be even more acute for to people with protected characteristics.

As we increasingly digitise clinical pathways and enforce social movement restrictions as a result of the pandemic response, we are at risk of increasing the health inequalities gap further, and increasing risk for those who are already vulnerable – this challenge requires
a strategic, collaborative cross-sector approach to addressing digital exclusion among our citizens.

This project aligns with the Empower the Person Mission, specifically improving digital access to health and care information; digital equalities - promotion of digital health products to hard to reach communities and groups and improved digital access to health and care information for all citizens and patients.

As this project develops, it will also support additional plans covering:

  • supporting patients in making health and care choices
  • developing digital technologies that put people in charge of their own health and care
  • digital literacy - widening Digital Participation

Our initial brief to design and deliver a population wide survey with strategic analysis of results to inform digital strategy.

Solution

The project informed a strategy focussed on specific groups at particularly high risk of exclusion. The project sampled a broad cross section of the Newham community and baselined the human factors which influenced access to online community services. These insights have informed the Trust on ways to ‘activate’ specific communities, guided by the data, in an effort to make access to these services easier.

The approach surfaced the frictions and enablers associated with accessing community services online, particularly for the black and minority ethnic community and people with disabilities. The findings informed behaviour change ideas with support to design tailored interventions.

“We wanted to make sure that as many people as possible in our community were able to access the digital health and care offer.

So we worked with Healthwave to design and deliver a population-wide survey, and we used the results to inform our digital strategy. We focused on specific groups of people at particularly high risk of exclusion, as well as sampling a broad cross section of the Newham community to understand better how their behaviours influence access to online community services. These insights helped the Trust figure out ways to “activate” specific communities, guided by the data, in an effort to make access to these services easier”. Charan Saduera, Associate Director for Quality, Compliance & Performance, Community Health Services, East London NHS Foundation Trust