NHS Digital is extending a programme designed to help people and groups who lack the skills to effectively use digital health services.
The organisation has announced a three-year programme to help develop effective models to improve digital health skills and access to digital services and information.
The project is the next phase of a three-year Widening Digital Participation (WDP), first initiated in 2013. Alongside the charity group Good Things Foundation, NHS Digital will develop 20 local digital inclusion pathfinder projects.
NHS Digital report that one in 10 people in England lack the skills to benefit from digital health technologies. The pathfinder projects were designed to improve digital health skills and in doing so support patients in the move towards a more digitised NHS.
Previous pathfinder projects include a scheme with Islington CCG to help young people with mental health problems and learning disabilities and a social prescribing project with Sheffield CCG, supporting older people with one or more long term conditions.
WDP programme director at NHS Digital, Amanda Neylon, said: “We know that there is a strong correlation between digital exclusion and health inequalities. Through this project we hope to enable and support vulnerable people to take control of their own health care by providing them with the skills and confidence to go online and access digital health information and services. Good Things Foundation will bring a wealth of experience of reaching digitally and socially excluded groups and we are looking forward to working with them over the next three years”.
Helen Milner, chief executive officer of the Good Things Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be working again on NHS Digital’s Widening Digital Participation programme. We’re passionate about creating a digitally confident population and through our 3,000 community hubs we know Good things Foundation can play a crucial role in scaling digital health inclusion interventions and forming an important backbone for people-powered health.
“Digital healthcare is an area where the ‘furthest first’ are set to gain the most. By pursuing this project we can relieve pressure on NHS services, reduce costs, and contribute towards health as a social movement, putting people in control of their healthcare and improving their well-being.”