The NHS is rapidly developing the use of digital technology to communicate with patients and to deliver care, information and advice. For example, patients can use online systems to book GP appointments, to order prescriptions, for video consultations, and to get information about health conditions and support services, including a range of self-help tools.
However, some people can’t or don’t want to use digital technology to access healthcare due to a lack of equipment, skills, or confidence, or because they have communication needs and requirements that are not currently met by digital services, for example around language or disability. Some groups of people are disproportionately disadvantaged, including disabled people, older people, those on low incomes, and people with mental health challenges (Gloucestershire Digital Divides, March 2022).
Gloucestershire’s NHS and care providers have asked Healthwatch Gloucestershire to help them find out what people think about digital healthcare services, to identify the difficulties and barriers that exist and the improvements and solutions people would like to see.
It’s easy to share your views and experiences of digital healthcare with Healthwatch Gloucestershire, and everything your share can remain anonymous. You can join a group discussion, arrange to talk 1-1, or complete a survey by 31 December 2022.
To find out more and have your say visit healthwatchgloucestershire.co.uk/project/digital-healthcare, Freephone 0800 652 5193, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Launching the project, Helen Webb, Healthwatch Gloucestershire Manager, said: “Health and care leaders in Gloucestershire have said they are committed to improving access to good digital healthcare while making sure nobody gets left behind. To achieve this they need to make sure digital services are good quality and easy to use; accessible to as many people as possible, including those who currently cannot or don’t want to use digital technology; and they need to make sure other non-digital options are easily available, to avoid creating barriers and inequalities in healthcare provision. We will share your feedback to help services understand how to make it easier, not harder, for you to get the care and support you need.”