The Good Things Foundation has published a new paper on digital exclusion and its impact on people’s health, social life and economic potential.
To support the Health Foundation’s COVID-19 impact inquiry, the Good Things Foundation, the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund came together earlier this year, to focus on tackling digital exclusion and health inequalities.
The resulting report from the workshop and meeting provides an overview of digital exclusion and who is affected by it, as well as the impact of the pandemic on this, and some of the policy responses so far.
Key stats featured in the briefing paper are:
- 17% of over 65 years old said they lacked a suitable device to download a COVID-19 contact tracing app (Health Foundation 2020).
- 66% of all adults had never used the internet or apps to manage their health before the COVID-19 pandemic (Lloyds 2020).
- 19% of people booked GP appointments online in 2020 (GP Patient Survey 2020).
The publication sums up its “top 10 takeaways” from the workshop. These include advice to:
- Address the knowledge gap – increase the quantity and quality of data, especially with poorly served groups.
- ‘Improve what you know’ by evaluating with early adopters, sharing what works and what doesn’t.
- Support those already innovating and implementing change, through peer learning and practice sharing.
- Reach out to other practice managers and a wider workforce audience, with guidance on practical steps to increase digital inclusion for health and care.
- Grow the number of local, welcoming spaces which support digital inclusion by using ‘existing assets’ such as GPs, community centres, libraries and disused retail outlets.
- Call on strategic commissioners in health and local government to ‘drive action’ on digital inclusion projects.
- Support community organisations to build people’s digital skills, confidence and trust – including on disinformation and data sharing.
- Build ‘better bridges’ between local health, care, voluntary and community sectors, promote ‘shared values’ – such as rights of access to health care – and enable collaboration.
- Drive continuous improvement of digital tools through patient voice and user experience feedback, and promote more inclusive design of digital services.
- Build on learning and innovation from COVID-19, and develop a ‘call to action’ across government departments to address digital and health inequalities.
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