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  • Writer's pictureRachel Edwards

NHS England have produced a document "Supporting digital inclusion in general practice: 10 top tips" we suggest is well worth a read. The guide is designed for healthcare staff in general practices, primary care networks (PCNs), integrated care systems (ICSs), and others aiming to reduce digital exclusion, especially among under-served and marginalised communities.

Digital inclusion refers to providing easy and affordable access to suitable devices, internet connectivity, and the necessary digital skills to access NHS services. The guide identifies 10 'top tips' for enhancing digital access:

  • Identify Demographic Groups at Risk: Utilise tools like the Digital Exclusion Risk Index to identify those most likely to be digitally excluded.

  • Co-Design Support with Patients: Collaborate with patients to overcome specific barriers.

  • Ensure Usability and Accessibility: Make websites and digital tools user-friendly.

  • Use Multiple Communication Routes: Inform patients through various channels.

  • Always Provide Choice: Offer alternatives to digital tools.

  • Offer Varied Support: Provide different ways to help with digital access and skills.

  • Strengthen Network Relationships: Enhance connections with local organizations.

  • Provide Devices and Data Connectivity: Assist the most digitally excluded with necessary tools.

  • Give Staff Time to Support Patients: Allow time for teaching digital tools.

  • Appoint Digital Inclusion Champions: Recruit champions among staff to lead digital inclusion efforts.

Our At Scale Digital Insight Programme encompasses many of these themes and provides intuitive data research, qualitative and quantitative, across PCNs to look at digital preferences, behaviours and characteristics, socio and economic factors cross referenced to health conditions across the footprint. Combining patient questionnaires and 121’s, practice staff feedback as well as community and voluntary sector engagement we produce a rich data set that can be interrogated across multiple levels. Producing analyses, themes and rich data that can be interrogated across multiple layers which will underpin and drive PCN Digital Strategy and Delivery framing new initiative implementation, health campaigns and digital uptake and access. For more information or an informal chat please contact Rachel.edwards@atscale.co.uk or 07771608773.

The guide emphasises collaboration, flexibility, and leadership commitment to make digital inclusion part of regular practice. It draws on good practices shared by over 30 primary care and voluntary community organisations in England, providing a comprehensive approach to bridging the digital divide and preventing further widening of health inequalities.

The document can be found on our website at atscale.co.uk or from https://www.england.nhs.uk/long-read/supporting-digital-inclusion-in-general-practice-10-top-tips/

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