Digital inclusion guide 2

Health and care commissioners and providers are increasingly committed to providing services and information through digital channels. At the same time they know that a key limiting factor is that many of their patients and service users are not online or lack digital skills. And they are not always aware of the organisations, tools and resources that they could use to support digital inclusion locally.


As part of its Widening Digital Participation programme, NHS Digital and NHS England are now producing a guide to digital inclusion for local health and care organisations. In September we wrote about the discovery phase of this project.

We wanted to make sure that the guide is as relevant as possible to local services so we carried out interviews with representatives from clinical commissioning groups, sustainability and transformation partnerships and other organisations. Interviewees were from a range of backgrounds including chief officer, clinical chair, chief clinical information officer, commissioning, digital technology, health inequalities, communications, and finance.

Interviewees welcomed the idea of the guide and in particular wanted it to cover:

  • What do we mean by digital inclusion and who’s likely to be excluded?
  • Why does digital inclusion matter to us in the NHS?
  • How can we support digital inclusion locally?
  • What partners can we work with?
  • What practical tools and resources can we use?

We are committed to producing the guide in an agile way, involving stakeholders at every stage. So following the interviews, we moved rapidly in October to production of an early alpha draft which we made available to interviewees and other stakeholders for comment and feedback. Overall they liked the guide but wanted three things to be strengthened in the next version:

  • More good quality evidence which could be used to build the business case for digital inclusion
  • More on how digital inclusion can be an enabler for other agendas, including primary care and staff capability
  • Case studies, case studies, case studies…

Great suggestions from stakeholders have now been taken on board in a new beta version launched in January 2018. This is now available publicly online for stakeholders and users to try out.

We welcome comments and feedback on the beta guide. In particular, we would like to hear of any resources you have used locally or case studies of how you have supported digital inclusion. We can then include these in the final (live) version of the guide which will be launched later in Spring 2018.

You can provide comments to by 28 February 2018


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